“Total Fake And A Phony,” “Didn’t Have To Delete My Tweets” And “Trump Warriors”: How Republicans Spent The Week Attacking Their #OHSEN Candidates

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Happy Friday, and welcome to “Buckeye Brawl,” a weekly newsletter from the Ohio Democratic Party highlighting the nasty, chaotic, and expensive Republican primary for Senate. This out-of-control primary is making conservatives “deeply worried” about the prospects of Republicans losing this seat. 

As the Republican Senate primary continues to sink lower and lower, these GOP candidates are injecting even more nasty personal attacks, more chaos and more money into this race. We’re here to help you keep track of all of it. 

“What do you get when you mix Twitter trolling, about $30 million in self-funding, a billionaire financier and big-money outside groups? You get this year’s GOP Senate primary in Ohio, one of the most competitive and chaotic Republican primaries on the calendar this year.” –NBC News, 2/4/22

Here’s what you may have missed:

MY LITTLE P(H)ONY. After a brutal Politico report on Vance’s super PAC warning the Vance campaign that it “needs a course correction ASAP,” Josh Mandel stuck the knife deeper in a Newsmax interview, saying, “He’s [Vance] a never Trumper, he bragged about being a Never Trumper, they see him as a total fake and a phony here in Ohio.” Welp, those attacks aren’t going away any time soon. And according to Vance’s super PAC, these kinds of attacks are exactly what is sinking Vance’s campaign. Their own 98-page PowerPoint (good God!) said that Vance’s “association as a Never Trumper has only grown since November” and that “being anti-Trump is the #1 reason voters do not like Vance.” I’ve watched people call out someone for being a “total fake and a phony,” but usually that’s on Real Housewives, not a Republican Senate primary! 

NOT A TWEET DELETER. Banker millionaire Mike Gibbons went after Silicon Valley millionaire J.D. Vance for (you guessed it!) not adequately supporting Trump enough. At a Richland County Republican Party luncheon, Gibbons slammed Vance, saying, “I’m the candidate that didn’t have to delete my tweets. I supported Donald Trump from the beginning.” Gibbons is referring to Vance being so ashamed of his anti-Trump past that when he started his U.S. Senate campaign, he deleted all of his tweets where he called Trump “reprehensible” and admitted plans to vote for Evan McMullin. While the part about Vance is true, Mike Gibbons supported Carly Fiorina (where is she now?), John Kasich and Marco Rubio in 2016. So yeah, you weren’t with Trump “from the beginning,” nice try!   

BEING IN THE BATTLE. Jane Timken keeps trying to use this “warrior” analogy to go after the other GOP Senate candidates on their Trump record. On Raw with Mindy and Boots Sunday, Timken said, “Out of all the candidates in this race who claim to be Trump warriors, I always say you have to have been in the battle if you claim to be a warrior. I didn’t see them out on the campaign trail. Didn’t see them at the rallies. They weren’t on the Trump train bus tour like I was. I’m the only one who can say they delivered Ohio by more than 8.5 points for President Trump.” This echoes a similar attack from Timken last month when she was on Hugh Hewitt’s show, she said, “We’ve got a lot of other people in this race who pretend they’re the Trump warrior…” All of these candidates are attacking each other to get to Trump, but when Timken saw Trump during their “Hunger Games” sit down, Trump made sure to bring up Timken’s past support for a pro-impeachment congressman. Good luck papering over that, Jane! 

Thanks for reading along – that’s all for the Buckeye Brawl this week.

What Ohioans are Reading: The Cost of Republican Corruption is Too High a Price for Working Ohioans to Pay

In case you missed it, the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP), along with attorney general candidate Representative Jeff Crossman held a news conference Thursday outlining how much money the House Bill 6 corruption scandal is costing hardworking Ohioans every single day thanks to a lack of leadership and transparency from Mike DeWine.

On the call, Rep. Crossman outlined how Ohioans remain on the hook for nearly $180 million in coal plant subsidies alone, including money going to a plant that isn’t even in Ohio. Breaking that down, Rep. Crossman showed us that hardworking families are losing over $230,000 a day or $9,500 an hour, $159 a minute because of the largest public corruption scandal in state history. 

 See what Ohioans are reading today: 

The Toledo Blade: Nuclear scandal continues to cost Ohioans, says AG candidate

Jim Provance

“Democrats have a rolling dollar ticker — similar to one used by Republicans to track the national debt — that show how much the coal subsidies are costing Ohioans. That ticker was at about $180 million as of Thursday.

‘“These scandals keep getting bigger and bigger and cost Ohioans more and more money each time,’ Mr. Crossman said, citing the past Coingate, payday lending, and Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow charter school scandals.

‘“If we’re not going to fight to get to the bottom of this and hold the folks responsible for this to account, then this will continue to happen,’ he said. ‘Ohio will go from being once an opportunity state to continuing to be No. 1 in corruption as we’re currently ranked. It’s shameful.’

“Mr. Householder faces trial as soon as this fall on federal racketeering charges for his alleged leadership in what FirstEnergy has admitted was a scheme to bribe its way to getting nuclear bailout bill across the finish line.

“Also awaiting trial on a similar charge is lobbyist Matt Borges, a former Ohio Republican Party chairman. Two others — consultant and close Householder ally Jeff Longstreth and lobbyist Juan Cespedes — have pleaded guilty and have cooperated with the ongoing federal investigation. A fourth defendant, powerful lobbyist Neil Clark, committed suicide.

“A utility consortium — of which American Electric Power is the biggest partner — piggybacked onto the nuclear bailout bill to expand statewide what had been regional subsidies paid by electricity customers to support their two 1950s-era coal plants that were originally built to serve a now defunct federal uranium enrichment plant in southern Ohio.

“The state representative again called on Mr. Yost to launch a separate state investigation — in addition to the ongoing federal investigation — in advance of bringing criminal charges under state law. He called the civil lawsuit brought by Mr. Yost against FirstEnergy and to go after the assets of the scheme’s players ‘low-hanging fruit.”’ 

Springfield News Sun: Calls for more changes to scandal-tainted HB 6

Jim Gaines 

“The Democratic candidate for Ohio attorney general on Thursday denounced continuing coal-plant subsidies paid to Akron-based FirstEnergy under scandal-tainted House Bill 6, and called for expanded criminal investigation and more openness from Republican state officials.

“State Rep. Jeff Crossman, D-Parma, said during a virtual news conference hosted by the Ohio Democratic Party that Ohioans are paying $230,000 a day to subsidize coal plants, including one in Indiana.

“A federal criminal investigation is ongoing. Lawmakers repealed the bill’s nuclear-plant bailout, but the bill’s subsidies for coal plants and other projects remain. ‘There’s still a lot of questions about who knew what and when, about this nuclear bribery scandal,’ Crossman said.

“Public-records requests to Gov. Mike DeWine’s and Yost’s offices have not been fully answered, but what has been released shows the scandal is “bigger and broader” than previously known, he said.

‘Larry Householder didn’t work alone,’ he said.

“Crossman alleged DeWine’s office worked with Sam Randazzo, then chair of the Ohio Public Utilities Commission, to pass HB 6. ‘We know that the governor’s office was involved,’ Crossman said.”

Cleveland.com Capitol Letter: A Charged Issue 

Andrew Tobias 

“State Rep. Jeff Crossman, a Parma Democrat, running for attorney general, held a news conference on Thursday morning to call attention to what he said were unanswered questions about the House Bill 6 scandal. He said if he were attorney general, he would use the power of his office to investigate the issue further. Crossman also said the scandal continues to cost Ohioans hundreds of thousands of dollars each day, in the form of HB6′s subsidies to OVEC coal plants and the ongoing federal investigation. Crossman is challenging Republican Attorney General Dave Yost in the November election.” 

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The people of Ohio deserve a government that supports their hard work and shares their hopes for the future. Our platform represents the Democratic vision for our State, embracing and implementing the dreams of Ohioans. We firmly defend these American beliefs, values, and traditions and are fighting hard every day to elect Democrats who have the experience and ideas to improve our state and who will hold Columbus accountable.

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