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117 years.

The Ohio Chamber of Commerce is made up of over 4,000 businesses across the state of Ohio.

They’re universally known as the leading business advocate in the Buckeye State and maintain a clear focus on improving Ohio’s business climate to grow jobs.

And in their 117 year history they’ve never endorsed a statewide candidate.

Until today.

Oftentimes endorsements don’t mean all that much. But the coverage this endorsement has already received proves this one means something. Why? Because the leading advocate for business development, the single issue of utmost importance to Ohio voters, broke tradition to make a very clear statement about who they feel would best move the state forward.

And it wasn’t Ted Strickland.

Why? Because they feel John Kasich is the best candidate to work to improve Ohio’s business climate.

But Ted Strickland didn’t do himself any favors:

Doehrel said that Strickland also interviewed with the chamber and asked for its endorsement. The chamber has stood with the governor on some issues in recent years. But Doehrel said one issue that worked against Strickland in the endorsement process was the perceived anti-business campaign commercials the governor has released attacking Kasich and his ties to Wall Street.

The governor was also most recently criticized by the Greater Cleveland Partnership, Cleveland’s chamber of commerce, for an ad regarding Kasich’s role on the board for Invacare, a Cleveland company.

“That upset us,” Doehrel said.

Talk about reinforcing what an incredibly boneheaded decision it was to run that Invacare ad.

Whoever ultimately made that decision should be lucky they still have a job with the campaign.

Though after today, maybe they won’t.

And what kind of response did Strickland campaign have to the Chamber’s decision?

If you guessed “immature, petty, and illogical,” you’re the big winner.

The Strickland campaign issued a statement that did not directly address the chamber’s decision. Instead the campaign noted that the chamber supported free trade with China just as it says Kasich does. Strickland has said such agreements have cost Ohio jobs.

“Congressman Kasich can fight for Wall Streeters and outsourcers, Ted will fight for Ohio,” said Strickland communications director Lis Smith.

The weird part about this? Strickland interviewed and tried to get the Chamber’s endorsement.

Does it make any sense to insult the organization with whom you tried to obtain an endorsement? Imagine what Strickland would have said had he won it:

“I’d like to thank the Chamber for their endorsement. It’s great to have the backing of an organization that supports free trade with China that have cost Ohio jobs.”

The Strickland campaign attacking the Chamber after losing the endorsement they coveted is exactly what happened after the Ohio CPAs chose Kasich over Strickland. This trend of petty and downright strange behavior won’t endear Strickland to any swing voters and will surely only invigorate the CPAs and Chamber to work harder to get out the vote for Kasich.

Keep it up, Strickland disciples. You’re not doing yourselves any favors.

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Third Base Politics is an Ohio-centric conservative blog that has been featured at Hot Air, National Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, and others.


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