The weekend news cycle was not kind to Ed Fitzgerald and his (current but soon-to-be former) runningmate, Sen. Eric Kearney. Calls for Fitz to drop Kearney from the Democrat ticket have reached a fever pitch, with several newspaper editorial boards and prominent columnists joining the choir.
From the Columbus Dispatch’s Joe Hallett:
… if he stays on the ticket, Kearney (and FitzGerald) will get a recurring question: Why should voters entrust management of their tax dollars to someone who can’t manage to pay his own taxes?
…Kearney still can have a political future. But it’s clear now that FitzGerald did not properly vet his running mate, and it’s hard to see FitzGerald in the governor’s office if Kearney remains on the ticket.
From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Whatever the degree of FitzGerald’s knowledge, in his mind it was evidently enough to make a good-faith judgment that Kearney’s problems wouldn’t drown out the anti-Kasich message FitzGerald wants Ohio voters to hear.
FitzGerald is wrong about that.
Kearney should bow out of the campaign – and if he doesn’t, FitzGerald should show him the door.
From Kearney’s hometown newspaper, the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Also, the failure to pay taxes flies in the face of one of the most fundamental agreements in our democratic society: Everyone needs to pay their taxes. It’s a contract we have with each other and with our public institutions. And it’s the law…
That’s why Kearney should withdraw from the race, to give Ohioans a chance to have a fair debate on real issues that matter.
Even in an unrelated article, columnist Thomas Suddes opined as to Kearney’s future on the Fitzy ticket:
Because of business setbacks, it turns out, Kearney, his wife and a company they own are burdened with hundreds of thousands of dollars in late federal and state taxes and penalties. And that revelation has led to some speculation that Kearney will leave, or be dropped from, FitzGerald’s ticket.
It’s clear that Fitzy needs to ask Kearney to bow out, or kick him off the ticket. He missed the perfect opportunity before the Thanksgiving holiday—where the holiday & Black Friday news would have buried the story—but the writing is on the wall.
Whether Fitzy admits it or not, conversations are being had about Kearney and the harm he has already caused to Democrat hopes in 2014, and the potential for further damage if he remains at the top of the ticket. And with such a drag at the top, that doesn’t fare well for any Democrat that happens to be down-ticket.
Which brings up a good debate: at what point do other statewide Democrat hopefuls demand for Kearney’s resignation? Without a decent performance from Fitzy, Democrat candidates for Treasurer, Secretary of State and Auditor could underperform.
Democrats seem to think State Rep. Connie Pillich has a chance to unseat Treasurer Josh Mandel (she can’t). The national media is pushing State Sen. Nina Turner to topple Secretary of State Jon Husted (she won’t). And State Rep. John Patrick Carney looks to defeat Auditor Dave Yost with his fundraising prowess (albeit completely astro-turf).
Whatever chances Democrats may have (and they’re quite small at that) could be extinguished with a potential albatross like Kearney around their collective necks.
We’ve said it from the beginning: the Kearney pick would be a bust. Now everyone knows it. And though the Ohio Democratic Party likes to pretend like it isn’t happening, discussions about Kearney’s viability on the ticket are occurring on a daily basis, and they’re all rehearsing the blame-game to synchronize their message on who best to pin this mess.
If other statewide Democrats aren’t currently participating in that debate, you can bet it won’t be too long before they do.