Last updated: February 14. 2014 12:35AM - 488 Views

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Primary-free election?


Once again, last-minute maneuvering by the two major political parties will result in a “primary-free” gubernatorial election for Ohioans.


That’s too bad. In a state nearly split between conservatives and liberals, voters should have a say when picking a party’s candidate for such an important statewide race. More often, it’s state party leaders, not voters, who decide which candidate progresses to the fall election.


Contested primaries had once looked like a possibility in this year’s governor race for both Republicans and Democrats.


But the GOP primary ticket was cleared for Gov. John Kasich, who will be seeking a second term, when Ted Stevenot, a tea party favorite, dropped out less than a week after he had thrown his hat into the ring….


Democrats, too, had been staring at a primary matchup, until last Friday.


That’s when Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune withdrew his bid to go head-to-head against Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.


Both Portune and Stevenot have since suggested they would have liked to have taken their campaigns a step farther, but were not encouraged to by officials in their respective parties.


That’s not surprising. The clearing of the gubernatorial ticket before a primary is long-established political strategy.


Party leaders like to avoid first-round fights which can divide the base. Granted, Portune or Stevenot may not have had a realistic chance of winning their respective party’s nomination in May, but they may have broadened the discussion….


Unfortunately, voters will only get to weigh in once, not twice.


— The Findlay Courier


Shenanigans as the norm


Given the low esteem that most people hold toward the US Congress, it’s hardly surprising that many Americans have come to expect unethical, shady and seedy shenanigans as the norm among a sizeable chunk of the members and staff of the chief lawmaking body of this nation.


In fact, a recent Rasmussen poll found 60 percent of Americans believe most members of Congress are willing to sell their votes for cash or campaign contributions.


At the center of many of these congressional sell-your-soul deals stand lobbyists. Loopholes in ethics law governing lobbyists exposed by The New York Times (last) week only feed public cynicism.


As The Times reported, many former senior staff members of US representative and senators are grossly violating the intent of a 2007 law that requires a waiting period before they can lobby their buddies in Congress. The law imposes a one-year ban for senior staff and House members, and two years for senators….


A new study by the Sunlight Foundation found that the number of active lobbyists with prior government experience has nearly quadrupled since 1998…


We doubt that the revolving door can ever be completely stopped, but the speed at which it moves must be slowed. Revising the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act to close the loopholes would help the six-year-old law live up to its noble-sounding name and might clear just a little bit of the stink that far too many Americans still smell enveloping our nation’s capital.


— The Youngstown Vindicator

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