Ohio's governor is given such great authority that experts say that the officeholder is one of the five most powerful state chief executives in the country.

Then there is Mike DeWine, Ohio's current governor, who acts likes he is among the five least powerful governors in the country when it comes to redoing state legislative and Congressional districts.

DeWine is one of seven members of the State Redistricting Commission. If he had chosen to exercise his authority and his power to persuade, the Ohio Constitutional fiasco would have been over weeks ago and the May 3 primary would be full speed ahead with candidates having filed their petitions.

Instead, the fiasco continues at this writing with the Ohio Supreme Court having turned down the state legislative districts three times and the Congressional boundaries once with more judicial rejections in prospect and the chances of holding the May 3 primary for those races reduced to zero.

Four of the members of the redistricting panel are intractable. The only two Democrats, State Rep. Allison Russo and Sen. Vernon Sykes, are going to vote to create more Democratic districts while two Republicans, Speaker of the House Robert Cupp and Senate leader Matt Huffman are going to vote to maintain the large GOP majorities in both the Statehouse and Congress. The foursome's respective colleagues would tar and feather them if they did otherwise.

That leaves DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and State Auditor Keith Faber as the swing votes, if you will. Each faces the voters in re-election bids this November and each could face the sting of rejection if the public interprets that they messed up as panel members.

All the Ohio Supreme Court majority, by repeated 4-3 votes, is asking is that districts represent the 54-46 percent breakdown of Republican voters compared to Democratic ones in recent elections and not put forward a bunch of districts that are barely Democratic and easily could be flipped by the superior Republican war chest and campaign expertise.

So if DeWine wakes up tomorrow and decides he wants to do the public's business in an even-handed, constitutional manner and live up to the 54-46 percent court mandate, all DeWine has to do is persuade either LaRose or Faber to join with him and the two Democrats and approve districts that uphold the 54-46 percent mandate without a bunch of marginal Democratic districts. It would be a major Democratic improvement and Russo and Sykes are bound to agree. That 4-3 vote on the commission on both state and federal districts would easily pass Ohio Supreme Court muster and the matter would be done.

While they are elected separately, LaRose and Faber are underlings to DeWine and depend on his good will for budgetary matters and on political matters. DeWine could make their political lives a living hell if he turned on the jets of political power toward them in a negative way. Both want DeWine's job on some future day so getting along with him is paramount. DeWine needs to use the carrot and stick successfully on one of them and the whole mess is cleared up and DeWine looks like a hero to the general public and increases his chances for re-election that right now are fair, but cloudy.

Sadly, DeWine has not done this and is unlikely to use his power to end this mess.

Soreheads Want To Impeach O'Connor. Doubt She's Scared

Some unhappy sorehead Republicans want to impeach Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor because she keeps voting against her party's interests.

Her repeated feminist "gonging" of the largely white male Republican legislators had led to calls to remove her. There are enough GOP votes in the House and Senate to remove her, but it will turn out to be no more than saber-rattling to scare her into backing off on some of her demands, which she will not do.

Even DeWine thinks impeachment would be a bad idea.

Long live Maureen O'Connor! Impeachment threats apparently do not scare her.

Columnist Blows Whistle On Keeping Constituents In Dark

Finally, a Columbus journalist stands up for the public and raises questions about how Gov. DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted are treating the public about to have their lives devastated by the proposed $20 billion Intel computer chip factory in Licking County.

Dispatch columnist Ted Decker recently wrote that the good folks in Johnstown in Licking County have been kept in the dark by DeWine and Husted.

Don't these folks and their neighbors throughout Licking County understand that DeWine and Husted are doing the Lord's work by throwing $2 billion at Intel to get the multinational company to build in the so-dubbed Silicon Valley of Ohio.

The good folks of Licking County should be honored to be able to go through this brutal dislocation so that DeWine and Husted can brag their way to re-election later this year.

Until recently, the Dispatch has treated the proposed plant as the Second Coming of Industry into central Ohio. Slobber. Slobber. Slobber. Slobber.

Dispatch reporters finally got DeWine and Husted to admit that $2 billion of taxpayer money was being flushed down the toilet in the name of getting the twosome re-elected, but it was way after the fact.

You have no doubt heard the old adage: a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth gets out of bed.

I do not believe that it will only cost the taxpayers $2 billion. I'm guessing it will be $4 billion before all is said and done.

Keep in mind, friends, that Intel might change its mind. Market conditions could change and Intel could say bye-bye to the chip plant. Foxconn announced big billion-dollar plans and a big government subsidy offer to build a plant in southern Wisconsin a few years ago, only to back out and leave the state government holding the bag.

I wish DeWine and Husted would work as hard in the other less prosperous metropolitan areas of Ohio in throwing around $2 billion checks to attract industry as they have in already prosperous central Ohio.

As Decker concludes his column: "It's not about buildings. It's not about roads. It's about people. That goes for all of Ohio, too."

Well said, scribe. Well said.

Ohio Republicans Fighting Mad At Each Other

First it was Republican U.S. Senate candidates Mike Gibbons and Josh Mandel hissing and pushing at each other during a debate. Issues of manhood, military service and qualifications to serve in public office, not to mention the uttering of slurs apparently attended the confrontation. It got so serious that a third candidate, J.D. Vance, sort of got up and almost intervened. Apparently, Vance invoked his self-control before his reputed Scotch-Irish temper got the best of him.

Then it was Gov. DeWine running into gubernatorial challenger "Cowboy" Joe Blystone at a beef show. Joe wanted to know why Mike was skipping the debate next week at Central State University and causing it to be cancelled. A little touching went on before Mike's security detail escorted him away from the cowboy-hatted Joe. Mike earlier said he was skipping the debate because people already know where he stands on the issues. Truth be told, Missing Mike does not want to give his opponents any publicity and any chance to show him up.

It's a mad, mad, mad, mad Ohio Republican world.

Cranley's Cincy Data Points Beat Whaley's Dayton Figures

The tale of the tape (an old boxing term comparing the physical attributes of the combatants) shows that John Cranley has the edge over Nan Whaley regarding their respective times as mayors of Cincinnati and Dayton as they battle for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

Cincy gained 4% population to 309,317, ending decades of decline, while Dayton fell 2.7%  to 137,644 from 2013 to 2020.

Median household income rose 33.7% to $46,260 in Cincy while Dayton's  rose 14.3 % to $33,116 from 2013 to 2019.

During the same time period, Cincy's joblessness dropped 43.4% to 6.9% while Dayton's fell 24.5% to 12%.

Also in that time frame, poverty in Cincy fell by 26.2% while it went down 12.4% in Dayton.


-- The Columbus Dispatch published its final Saturday print edition on March 19 but left out that "news." Interim editor Kelly Lecker did write about it in the Sunday March 20 paper, making all sorts of ridiculous assertions that it was a good idea. Sell that notion to the thousands of high school football and basketball fans who will not be able to read about their home team's games come next school year. And sell the concept to Ohio State football fans who looked forward to game previews on Saturday.

-- Meanwhile, the Dispatch's parent Gannett Co. faces a whole bunch of class action  lawsuits and the prospect to having to pay back as much as $10 million to advertisers after having admitted misinforming clients about ad-exchanges. It is called cheating. More than a decade ago Brown Newspapers of Urbana, Ohio, was forced into bankruptcy for misrepresenting readership and circulation to advertisers. An even darker cloud on the horizon is that SoftBank, the massive hedge fund that controls Gannett, is piling up losses and might be forced to sell Gannett Co. to a better funded liquidator. Readers may be missing more than the Saturday paper in the near future.

(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,  (ColumbusMediaInsider, copyright, 2022, John K. Hartman, All Rights Reserved)