Jeff Crossman

I’m old-fashioned. I think you can only learn so much about a candidate by reading about him and watching him on video.

I believe you must experience a candidate up close and personal by seeing him speak, watching him interact with voters, and by having a face-to-face conversation.

Enter Jeff Crossman, the Democratic running for state attorney general. On paper and on video, he came across as a good candidate, but I wanted that real life contact.

I got it three weeks ago when the Parma-based state representative appeared before the Third Friday Democrat group in Columbus. I was not disappointed. The 50-year-old lawyer wowed me and the crowd with a straight up speech that Ohio has been poorly served by the current AG and his Republican cronies, that corruption has been running rampant in the Buckeye State, and that he had the backbone necessary to clean up the mess.

Crossman told the group that his opponent was sometimes careless with the truth and the public has a right to be angry at AG David Yost for inaction and obfuscation.

Once seen as gubernatorial material, Yost, 65, is no longer seen as a successor to Gov. Mike DeWine, if the latter prevails Nov. 8. Yost’s office has become a refuge for former editors and reporters of the Columbus Dispatch as he emphasizes PR over performance.

The Democrat says that the refusal of Yost, DeWine and other statewide elected Republicans to debate is “a slap in the face of Ohioans.”

Crossman and his siblings were raised by a single mother. Many of his family members to a union. He was the first in his family to graduate from college. That was Mount Union College, now the University of Mount Union. My late father graduated from Mount nearly 9 decades ago and a grandson is a senior there. How can I not like brother Crossman?

He got his masters from the University of Akron and his law degree from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He served on Parma City Council before winning election as a state representative. He could have run for re-election but decided to throw his hat in the ring for AG, knowing full well that any Democrat running for statewide office in 2022 is an underdog.

In his website he states his intentions: “…I’ve seen enough phony politicians favoring special interests over you and doing their best to divide us.”

Crossman is a stark contrast to Yost, DeWine and their extremist cronies running for re-election. Yost is so concerned about his public image and spotty performance that he is running hokey commercials that feature his last name in various everyday life poses. Then he ends it next to Mrs. Yost. It is a 60-second toast to Yost. The AG is desperate to cover up for his lackluster performance and hobnobbing with the right-wing extremists of  Ohio.

Yost has millions to spend on advertising while Crossman has thousands, so Yost can blanket the eight media markets in the state with his do-gooder message in hopes people will forget his untimely comments about the 10-year-old Ohio girl who was raped and impregnated and forced to leave Ohio in search of an abortion, a procedure that Yost, DeWine and their pro-life fanatics vehemently oppose and helped pass legislation to prevent the operation, now suspended by a court ruling that Yost and his minions are opposing in court. By contrast, Crossman stands with females and their right to choose.


- I have gotten to meet all but one of the Democratic candidates for statewide office and I can say unequivocally that they are a good bunch. I have not met Democratic Ohio Auditor candidate Taylor Sappington of Nelsonville, but I had a pleasant phone conversation with him this week. I admire a young man willing to stick his neck out and take the heat. I also have a warm spot in my heart for the three 18-to-21-year-olds running for state representatives as Democrats. In 1970 I ran for state rep in the Medina-Ashland County district at age 24. I lost but I learned a lot, and I have stay involved in politics ever since.

-Tim Ryan gave the supposedly intellectual J.D. Vance a lesson in linguistics at their first debate Monday with his “you’re an ass kisser and I’m an ass kicker line.” Vance doesn’t seem to have his heart in the race. It’s almost like he’s doing his billionaire handlers a favor by running. By contrast, Ryan has been going full tilt for nearly two years.

-Gannett Corp., the Columbus Dispatch’s owner, whose stock is south of $2 a share, is imposing more buyouts, and forced time off without pay just in time for the holidays. I hate to say it, but the mobile newsroom is not going to save the paper. Meanwhile, the lack of editing staff cheapens the product. In Wednesday’s edition at the top of page 14B, we are told that the high temperature the following Wednesday (Oct. 19) will be 552 degrees. Is Armageddon near? I suppose if Putin drops the Big One.

-Next week, I will prescribe what the statewide Democrats -- Ryan, Whaley, and company, such as Crossman – must tell the voters in graphic television and digital ads to draw the distinction between moderate, sane Democrats and the stark raving mad extremists of the Vance, DeWine, and Yost ilk. It won’t be pretty, but putting Whaley’s chances at 1 out of 100 is plenty ugly.

-Don’t expect reporters at or to report on the sad shape of the Whaley campaign. It is just not in their genes.

(Please send your comments and suggestions for future columns to John K. Hartman,  

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