Blackwell Pushes For Full Obamacare Repeal

Voters have given Republicans control of the House of Representatives, the Senate and now the White House. Frustration with Obamacare has helped propel Republicans into office as they promise to repeal the monstrosity of a bill that is burdensome on small businesses and the middle class.

As Congress is about to vote regarding Obamacare, Ohio’s former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell has weighed in on this issue in the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

Although Blackwell was a Domestic Policy Advisor for the Trump Transition Team, he is not in favor of the current bill as he doesn’t believe it addresses the biggest problems of Obamacare.

“Obamacare is falling apart on its own, thanks largely to the 10 essential benefits mandates that must be included in all insurance packages or face large penalties. These requirements range from maternity care to sex-change operations, regardless what the health care customer needs or wants. These mandates limit options and make insurance vastly more expensive, which is compounded by rules that mandate coverage for those currently sick or with preexisting conditions. Obamacare requires that these unhealthy people cannot be treated differently than anyone else, which results in healthier and younger people paying even higher premiums.

These bad issues with Obamacare are only compounded, as it incentives people to not buy insurance until they are sick, as the insurance companies have to sell them coverage at the same rate as if they were healthy. Imagine what the result would be if people could buy fire insurance while their house is on fire or extra car insurance after a serious crash. For insurance companies, that is not a sustainable business model.”

Blackwell praises the bill for removing the mandate for employers with more than 50 employees and the expansion of HSAs, but there is much more that should be done to revamp this very flawed system.

Blackwell believes true reform includes a full repeal of Obamacare and free market reform that focus more on individual choices rather than employer based insurance options.

“This is a reminder of what happens when government gets in the way of market solutions. If insurance companies had flexibility, people could buy coverage across state lines and only for the coverage they need. Those living in poverty could buy private insurance through vouchers, and high-risk pools could provide care for those with pre-existing conditions.

These types of market-based changes would accelerate improvements if employees could control insurance options, instead of their employers. The insurance tax deduction should shift away from businesses and instead be directed at individuals who can carefully decide what type of coverage they want and how much they wish to contribute to tax-free health savings accounts (HSAs).

Free-market reforms would put the individual healthcare consumer in a position where more options are available at a lower price. By making health care pricing more transparent and encouraging the expanded use HSAs, health care consumers can make better choices while competitive market mechanism drive prices down.”

Congressional Republicans voted for a full repeal of Obamacare more than once, but now they appear to be balking at doing the same under a Republican President.

 

 

ORP Balance Sheet Tells A Tale Of Debt And Raises Many Questions

Several members of the Ohio Republican Party State Central Committee sent Third Base Politics an email from Treasurer Tracey Winbush. She is seeking to retain her position at Friday’s meeting.

There is one part of Winbush’s email that made it worth reporting, a crudely constructed balance sheet. Numbers aren’t personal. They are just numbers, but these numbers tell a tale. It shows a party that appears to be operating beyond its means and a Chairman who isn’t a prolific fundraiser.

There are several things that stand out in the numbers below. There are more questions than answers here and that is what members of the committee stated when they forwarded the email. Some of these members have been Borges loyalists but are now questioning their support.

Despite mentioning transparency in her email, Winbush didn’t respond to a message left by Third Base Politics.

Ohio Republican Party Balance Sheet

There are some interesting things in this balance sheet that are worth pointing out. The party is over a million dollars in debt.

Bob Bennett passed away over two years ago, but the Ohio Republican Party is blaming $65,000 of debt on the former Chairman’s credit card.

An outstanding loan from Mary and Donzell Taylor eleven years ago still hasn’t been repaid. The party also hasn’t paid for $162k in legal and consulting fees from the 2010 election.

Prior Chairman Kevin DeWine paid off the mortgage, but under Chairman Borges’ leadership, there is almost half a million dollar mortgage and line of credit on the building.

Speaking of the building, the Ohio Republican Party has it valued just shy of $1.6 million. According to the Franklin County Auditor’s website, the building is assessed at $900,000.

The Ohio Republican Party still owes Quicken Loans Arena $165k for the first presidential debate in August 2015. This feels like someone who has a big expensive wedding without considering the financial destruction on the marriage.

The party and the Chairman were openly hostile to the Republican presidential nominee. In a letter to the State Central Committee, Member Dave Johnson exposed Borges’ behavior during the RNC. This likely impacted fundraising. Why would donors open their wallets to a party with a Chairman who is combative towards the nominee?

Borges is operating the party at a million dollars in debt while Jane Timken raised Donald Trump over a million dollars. She could quickly turn the ship around.

Matt Borges is claiming that rumors are being spread about him, but he can’t say that about this. These are simply numbers. Numbers sent out by his Treasurer. Numbers aren’t rumors. They are numbers. And the numbers likely won’t be on Team Borges’ side in Friday’s vote.

 

 

In Big Blow To Borges, Over 40 County GOP Chairs Endorse Timken

As Friday’s election for Ohio Republican Party Chair quickly approaches, Jane Timken just scored a very impressive endorsement list of over 40 Ohio County GOP Chairs. The Chairmen want a change in leadership at the Ohio Republican Party.

Stark County Chairman Jeff Matthews emailed the announcement to the State Central Committee members whose votes will pick the next Chairman. Many local Ohio Republican leaders have lost confidence in Matt Borges as this list demonstrates.

An Open Letter to the Ohio Republican State Committee

We know that every member of the Republican State Central Committee has been inundated by emails and phone calls regarding the current race for Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. We understand that this is an important decision that no member of the Committee takes lightly. As County Republican Chairmen, however, we are respectfully urging that our input be thoughtfully considered by the Committee in making a final decision on this most important matter.

We not only believe that the views and sentiments of County Republican Chairmen ought to be considered by the Committee on such important matters as the election of a State Chairman, but that the Committee and most certainly the State Chairman ought to be absolutely unwavering in their support of all Republican nominees, at every level.

Clearly, though, this was NOT the case in the instance of our 2016 Republican presidential nominee, Donald J. Trump. Consequently, we are now in jeopardy of having the State Party be completely at odds with the new Trump Administration, as well as with the RNC itself. This is, quite obviously, an untenable if not wholly unacceptable situation which only you, the voting members of the State Committee, have the power to resolve.

It is with all of this in mind that we, the undersigned, are urging you to unite the State Party behind Jane Timken as our next State Republican Chairman. She has impeccable personal qualifications and unquestioned standing among the political, financial and elective leadership of our Party at the state and national level. As a geographically diverse mix of County Republican Chairmen from large, medium and small counties, we respectfully ask for the State Committee’s support of Jane Timken in the secret balloting that will occur on January 6th.

Sincerely yours (in alphabetical order),

Carolyn Adams – Ottawa County GOP Chairman
Audra Bean – Champaign County GOP Chairman
Sandy Barber – Fulton County GOP Chairman
Keith Boales – Ashland County GOP Chairman
Chuck Calvert – Medina County GOP Chairman
Elayne Cross – Portage County GOP Vice Chairman
Paulette Donley – Highland County GOP Executive Committee Chairman Brian Davis – Williams County (Outgoing) GOP Chairman
Rob Duncan – Huron County GOP Chairman
Charlie Frye – Ashtabula County GOP Chairman
Leslie Haas – Washington County GOP Chairman
Robin Hovis – Holmes County GOP Chairman
Steve Hall – Coshocton County GOP Chairman

Jon Hensler – Jackson County GOP Chairman
Helen Hurst – Lorain County GOP Chairman
Tim Inwood – Clinton County GOP Chairman
John Jones – Harrison County GOP Chairman David Johnson – Columbiana County GOP Chairman Steve Kryder – Henry County GOP Chairman Randy Law – Trumbull County GOP Chairman
Tom Liebrecht – Putnam County GOP Chairman Thad Lichtensteiger – Van Wert County GOP Chairman Jeff Matthews – Stark County GOP Chairman Nancy McArthur – Geauga County GOP Chairman Mark Munroe – Mahoning County GOP Chairman John “Bud” O’Brien – Miami County GOP Chairman Dan Osborne – Morrow County GOP Chairman
Patti Rockey – Williams County (Incoming) GOP Chairman Pere Seward – Monroe County GOP Chairman Lowell Shank – Former Henry County GOP Chairman Dean Sipe – Crawford County GOP Chairman Sherman Stansbery – Wyandot GOP Chairman Jason Stephens – Lawrence County GOP Vice Chairman Lynda Smith – Clark County GOP Chairman
Keith Threewits – Darke County GOP Chairman Dave Uible – Clermont County GOP Chairman
Doug Wills – Tuscarawus County GOP Chairman Bryan Williams – Summit County GOP Chairman Wayne York – Auglaize County GOP Chairman
Mike Young – Noble County GOP Chairman
Jerry Zielke – Paulding County GOP Chairman

This is a tough blow to current ORP Chair Matt Borges who only earned a total of four votes in the three county party endorsement meetings. All of those parties endorsed Jane Timken. Borges is also being challenged on his claim that Lt. Governor Mary Taylor endorsed him.

Jane Timken perviously earned the endorsement of Congressman Bob Gibbs. This was a significant blow to Borges who used to work for Gibbs in 2010.

 

Borges Claim Of Mary Taylor’s Endorsement Disputed

Matt Borges released a list of 100 people who endorsed his re-election for Ohio Republican Party Chair, but he might have forgotten one important detail – to actually get the endorsements from the people he included.

There have been grumblings the last few days over people being on the list who never endorsed Borges, but one name stands out among them all – Lt. Governor Mary Taylor.

Taylor lives in southern Summit County, right on the border of Stark County where Timken lives, so this was an important catch for Borges. But someone with knowledge of the process says that the endorsement never was approved by Taylor

Prominent businessman Tony George told Third Base Politics that Taylor never issued an endorsement.

“They put out a list that isn’t accurate. An endorsement letter was put in front of Mary Taylor, She made the decision not to sign the letter.”

While it’s appalling to think Borges would do this to the Lt. Governor, it isn’t a stretch to believe. Kasich’s presidential campaign, which Matt Borges was obviously involved in, put out a list of Ohio endorsers without getting approval from some people who were delegates for other candidates. 

George, who gave his time and his treasure to support John Kasich’s presidential run isn’t pleased with the way the Ohio Republican Party operated during the general election. He believes if Kasich is serious about working with President-elect Trump, he would ask Borges to step aside to dissipate the tension from the combative nature of the Chairman towards our then GOP nominee.

George is supporting Jane Timken to be the Chair of the Ohio Republican Party. Timken also recently received all the endorsements issued by county parties.  It appears that Borges’ House of Cards isn’t as strong as he’d like to present to the media.

It’s time to work with the national party and President-elect. For a fresh start, we need a new Chairman.

Grassroots Signal Support For Timken As She Racks Up County Party Endorsements

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges is boasting that he will retain his grip on the state party, but he is facing a big backlash from grassroots at the county party levels. Despite spending a fortune to stack the State Central Committee with loyalists, Borges is facing a very credible challenge from Stark County Vice Chair Jane Timken.

Borges’ opposition to President-elect Donald Trump for most of the general election has cost the Chairman quite a bit of support. As the sitting Chair, he should have the support of all the statewide elected officials. Worse than that, only three county parties have met and voted on endorsing in this race. All three endorsed Jane Timken. Matt Borges has collected a grand total of four lonely votes between all three county party committees.

Geauga County Chair Nancy McArthur sent out an email detailing the party’s support for Timken, who handily won this contest.

“Jane Timken has served as the Stark County Vice Chairman for the past six years and understands what it takes to win elections. Jane was loyal to President-elect Trump; she raised more than $1M and played a leadership role in a target county for the campaign. Jane has no conflicts of interest and she is committed to serving the GOP—not a specific candidate, officeholder, or lobbying client.

Jane brings fresh ideas on how to finance and grow our Republican Party. She believes the State Central Committee should have a more active role in developing strategic plans for the ORP and the state party should provide more support for local county parties, elected officials, and candidates. Jane knows how to raise money and win elections. She has the support of President-elect Trump and will be the Chair that can unite the party and help us to work together at the local, state, and national levels.”

After some deliberation as to whether or not the Committee should do an endorsement, a motion was made and voted on unanimously by the Committee to vote for either Matt Borges, Jane Timken, or not to endorse.

A paper ballot was taken and the following votes were recorded:

No endorsement: 10
Matt Borges: 4
Jane Timken: 41

Three of the four State Central Committee men and women were present at the meeting — Mary O’Toole, Casey O’Brien, and Scott Kayser. Melissa Pope was not in attendance. After the meeting, Chairman McArthur notified all four of them about the meeting’s results along with the following message: “It is our hope, as our Party Representatives in Columbus, that you will take our endorsement into consideration and vote accordingly for Jane Timken for our Ohio Republican Party Chairman on January 6th.”

The Huron County Republican Party actually unanimously endorsed Timken. The press release cites communication and hostility from Borges during the campaign, but also highlights Timken’s qualifications.

Huron County Republican Party unanimously endorses Jane Murphy Timken for Chair of the Ohio Republican Party

NORWALK – The Huron County Republican Party Executive Committee voted unanimously Thursday to endorse Jane Murphy Timken for Chair of the Ohio Republican Party.

“After speaking with Jane Murphy Timken, it is obvious she is the best choice to unify the State GOP,” Huron County Republican Executive Committee Chair Rob Duncan said after the meeting. “She is committed to working with grassroots Republican efforts and to communicate what is going on at the state level with local county officials. She is the right candidate and the right time.”

A lively discussion with the 13th Senate District State Central Committee members Joyce Houck and David J. Moore centered on current Chair Matt Borges and his lack of communication with local party officials and with his lack of support for Republican President-Elect Donald J. Trump during the campaign season. Many members voiced their displeasure with the actions of Borges and his team during the past several months and believe now is the time to make a change in party leadership.

When contacted by Duncan after the vote, Timken said she was humbled and thankful for the show of support. She reiterated her commitment to local party chapters as they are the first level where elections take place.

Devoted to the Republican Party and to Ohio, Timken currently serves as the Vice-Chairman of the Stark County Republican Party. She is responsible for fundraising efforts for the Party and candidates, recruiting candidates, volunteer engagement, campaign logistics, ground game operations, election day planning, and implementation of strategy.

Timken is a graduate, cum laude, of Harvard College, where she received the John Harvard Scholarship for Academic Achievement and the Elizabeth Cary Agassiz Certificate of Merit. She played for the Radcliffe Rugby Football Club.

She received her J.D, summa cum laude, from The American University, Washington College of Law, Washington, D.C., graduating in the top 10% of her class, and serving as a Note & Comment Editor of The Administrative Law Journal of the American University.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Jane lives in Stark County, Ohio with her husband W.J. Timken, Jr. (Tim) Chairman, CEO, President of TimkenSteel. She has two children, Henry and Emma. She plays competitive USTA tennis, and enjoys cooking, reading, and traveling.

Williams County also unanimously endorsed Jane Timken. Outgoing Chairman Brian Davis and incoming Chairwoman Patti Rockey sent out an email stating such.

“The Williams County Republican Party voted unanimously to endorse Mrs. Jane Timken for Chairperson of the Ohio Republican Party. We believe it is time for new leadership and vision with a focus on unifying our party.”

The abrasive attitude of Matt Borges has create a serious divide between the state party and the local activists. This is a serious problem for a political party concerned with staying relative. These are the people who knock on doors, who make phone calls and organize events at the local levels. They are the backbone of the party. They proved this election cycle that they could do the heavy lifting without the state party. And now they are looking to toss Borges to the wind and replace him with Timken.

Timken is a very credible candidate as she is a bridge between the finance and grassroots sides of the party. She has the connections to fundraise and as the Stark County GOP Vice Chair, she has the understanding and knowledge that is associated with being involved at the local level.

Bad Week For Borges Continues As Gibbs Endorses Timken For ORP Chair

Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges is having a challenging week.

Ohio native Bob Paduchik, who the Ohio Republican Party mocked by creating a crudely named fake Twitter account, was named RNC Co-Chair. Borges had set his ambitions to move to the RNC and his poor calculations against Trump have cost him a promotion in addition to soiling his reputation. He looks incredibly foolish now that Paduchik has a new role at the RNC.

Borges also has a challenger in his quest for another term as Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. Stark County GOP Vice Chair Jane Timken has thrown her hat into ring to succeed Borges. And Timken has the backing of one of Ohio’s Congressmen.

Congressman Bob Gibbs sent a letter to State Central Committee Members stating that it’s time for a change in leadership at the Ohio Republican Party.

Bob Gibbs SCC letter

Bob Gibbs SCC letter

I expect that Gibbs is just the first big endorsement for Timken. Others will get behind Timken as they want to work with the Trump Administration. Borges can’t erase the damage he did with not only Trump, but with grassroots Republicans. The best way to heal those wounds and move forward is to replace him.

Stopping America’s Drug Epidemic

This 2016 presidential race was a hard fought campaign. President-elect Donald J. Trump campaigned on a bold and conservative platform of making our cities safe again. After decades of neglect, urban communities across America are in desperate need of repair.

With so many partisan political issues, there remain a select few issues that unite us rather than divide us. America is facing a tragic epidemic of drug-overdose deaths, and both Republicans and Democrats agree that it is time for action.

More than 21 million Americans above the age of 12 have been diagnosed with a substance abuse problem. In 2014, we saw watched 47,000 Americans die from drug overdoses, mostly due to abuse of heroin and other opiates. Ohio had the second-highest number of overdose-related deaths in the nation, with 79 people dying from opioid overdoses every day.

These tragic statistics do not include the many examples of people who hurt others while under the influence of drugs, the spread of diseases from shared needles, or the endless violence that is inherent to the criminal drug trade.

In rural, suburban, and urban neighborhoods across Ohio, too many people suffering from chronic pain become addicted to prescribed drugs and turn to black market alternatives like heroin when obtaining new prescriptions becomes too difficult or costly. Heroin is cheap and available, despite the more than $500 the U.S. spends every second on the war on drugs. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has confirmed that Mexico is the primary supplier of heroin in the United States. These cartel traffickers are taking advantage of the Obama Administration’s failure to secure our Southern border.

And, if that wasn’t bad enough, outrageous federal loopholes currently allow manufacturers from China to shipping fentanyl, a deadly opioid which is stronger and cheaper than heroin, into our communities. Dealing with the opioid epidemic requires a diverse array of treatment strategies and options that must involve our criminal justice, law enforcement, and public health systems. A multifaceted approach is required to address this issue, and it is imperative that we are making the right investments at every turn.

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, sponsored by Ohio Senator Rob Portman recently passed with a bi-partisan vote of 92-2. The goal of this law is to shift focus away from fighting the drug war through mass incarceration, and built up America’s treatment capacity. It included, among other things, greater funding for law enforcement and treatment, and increased the patient cap on doctors prescribing buprenorphine, a bridge treatment which reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings that too often drive addicts back to drug dealers.

In Ohio, a drug known as Suboxone is the state’s preferred buprenorphine treatment paid for by Medicaid. But it is far from an ideal medication. Suboxone comes in film strip form and is available in limited dosages, meaning physicians often have to prescribe higher doses than a patient actual needs. As a result, we are seeing patients to sell their excess strips on the black market for more than twice their value. Suboxone strips are also commonly smuggled into prisons and resold to inmates, compounding drug addiction problems in our prisons.

In Columbus, Suboxone smuggling into the Franklin County Jail became such a problem that the facility had to ban all outside deliveries of underwear and socks, which were easily used to conceal film strips. And in Southwest Ohio, officials at the Warren and Lebanon Correctional Institutions report that they are seeing an influx in Suboxone smuggling and abuse in those facilities. Law enforcement in Ohio is already overwhelmed trying to fight the drug epidemic in our communities, and now a purported solution to the opiate epidemic is exacerbating the problem.

Notably, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and 35 other attorneys general have sued the makers of Suboxone. The bipartisan suit argues that an aggressive pricing scheme and monopolistic practices have delayed alternatives to keep prices artificially high. Not only have their actions been a burden on taxpayers, they have prevented other drug manufacturers from offering patients and Medicaid programs more efficient options with tailored dosage levels and larger barriers to diversion into prisons and black markets.

To be clear, ensuring access to MATs is important. When used properly, these treatments save lives. But in Ohio, almost all of Medicaid’s spending on these treatments is paying for Suboxone, when there are other effective options available. Limited taxpayer resources shouldn’t be paying for medications that are ultimately costing the state in other ways.

By adopting a multi-faceted approach to addressing the opioid epidemic—expanding access to treatments, stopping well-intentioned Medicaid policies that are making the drug epidemic worse, and stopping the trafficking of illegal drugs at the border and in our communities—Ohio and America can use these evidence-based policy changes to keep more people alive and stop the opioid crisis.

This Op-Ed was written by Ken Blackwell.

 

 

 

Left Panics Over Blackwell as Possible WH Domestic Policy Advisor

Liberal outlets are on red alert over rumors that Ken Blackwell is being considered for White House domestic policy advisor, for good reason.

The thrust of their attack is to narrowcast Blackwell as embodying two issues the Left hates: guns and religion. He’s on the board of directors of the National Rifle Association, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Council for National Policy, the Family Research Council, and is a professor at Liberty University.

But while no one is better credentialed on the issues of the Second Amendment and faith, few statesmen of this generation have a broader and deeper grounding in the full spectrum of domestic issues.

From growing up in public housing as an African American to becoming the youngest mayor in Cincinnati history, then an under secretary at HUD, Blackwell knows better than anyone what ails cities and how to turn into reality Trump’s promise to revitalize America’s urban centers.

His decades of work in education—a board member of Grove City College, university vice president, professor, advocate for educational choice, and husband of a school superintendent—makes him a widely trusted expert in that field.

Then fiscal issues. This former Ohio state treasurer managed an investment portfolio of over 100 billion dollars—and made the Buckeye State the single largest bondholder of Israeli bonds, becoming friends with Benjamin Netanyahu and the Knesset—has been part owner of radio networks, a sports team, and sits on the board of an investment fund.

But his economic policy work is also theoretical. Blackwell was heavily involved with the Reagan White House on tax policy, worked for years with Jack Kemp on fundamental tax reform and co-wrote a book with Kemp on reforming the IRS. Blackwell also worked for many years with Steve Forbes on developing and promoting the flat tax.

Coupled with Blackwell’s weighty foreign-policy credentials—former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission and subsequent years of working with the State Department—no one floated as a possible domestic policy advisor has Blackwell’s scope of experience.

Critically important for President-elect Trump are the political benefits of appointing Blackwell. First, in terms of marshaling support for his agenda, Blackwell is on the board of directors of more conservative organizations than perhaps anyone in American politics today.

Beyond all the aforementioned groups like the NRA, Blackwell is on the board of the Club for Growth, the National Taxpayers Union, the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, and others. Some of these were valuable allies for Trump. Others caused static for Trump during the campaign, and the president could expect Blackwell’s formidable presence to overcome those difficulties going forward, calming the political waters for the White House.

Appointing Blackwell should also yield major benefits from minority communities. Integrating his skills on urban housing, new business startups, small business development, tax reform, and school choice, Blackwell could coordinate the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Education, and the Small Business Administration to revitalize inner cities. If Trump wants a major share of the black vote in 2020, Blackwell could gather him more of those votes that anyone else in a position to make often-clashing Cabinet departments and agencies work together to generate a synergy of urban renewal.

Simultaneously, Blackwell’s other organizational achievements suggest he could play a central role at dismantling the labyrinth involving Departments of Interior, Agriculture, Energy, and the EPA to expand everything from energy development to agriculture, hunting, and grazing issues.

As former Ohio secretary of state and board member of the ACRU, Blackwell could also tackle another 2020 priority—election law reform.

Blackwell’s thirty years of television and radio experience—thousands of interviews, including every major network and show—could also make him a top surrogate for Trump whenever these issues are in the news.

Finally, Blackwell is one of the only people in the country fully embraced both by the GOP establishment and the anti-establishment forces that propelled Trump to victory. He is trusted by both sides of the current divide in the party which Trump will need to bring together.

No wonder liberals are panicking about the possibility of Blackwell overseeing from the White House the full range of domestic policy issues for President Trump. It’s hard to imagine a more formidable aide in that post to enact Trump’s agenda of change.

EXCLUSIVE: Polls Show How Trump Can Win

The following is an Op-Ed by Robert Romano provided exclusively to Third Base Politics.

How Trump Wins

By Robert Romano

The latest battleground state polls show the presidential race is much tighter than the mainstream media and some prognosticators would have you believe. And there is still room for it to flip either way in the closing days.

4 state polls by Axiom Strategies-Remington Research Group conducted Oct. 20 to 22 find Donald Trump ahead of Hillary Clinton in North Carolina 47 to 44 percent and in Ohio 46 to 42 percent. Clinton is ahead in Pennsylvania 45 to 42 percent. And in Florida things are all tied up at 46 percent apiece.

Another poll by Bloomberg in Florida conducted Oct. 21 to 24 shows Trump ahead 45 to 43 percent.

Meaning, things could not be any closer. And there is room to pick up the margin of victory in each state. In the Remington polls, in North Carolina, 5 percent remain undecided. In Ohio, 6 percent are undecided. In Florida, 5 percent are undecided. And in Pennsylvania, a whopping 7 percent are undecided.

As for Bloomberg’s Florida poll, 2 percent are unsure and a curious 4 percent would not say who they preferred.

That means there are still millions of votes up for grabs, more than enough to tilt the race one way or another. And then there’s turnout and enthusiasm. Turn out a higher percentage of your supporters than your opponent, and that changes the complexion of the race, too.

Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning notes that teams knocking on doors in North Carolina he has heard from report that “ blue collar voters who have not usually been reliable voters are extremely energized about getting to the polls, which should be good news for Donald Trump.”

If this trend holds true in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, Donald Trump has a clear pathway to the presidency.

Manning continued, “ This is a turnout election, and if these blue-collar voters show up at the polls driven by Trump’s America first trade policies and their rejection of Hillary Clinton’s borderless America vision, it will send shockwaves through the political elites who have ignored them for so long.”

It is clear that this election will be decided by whichever candidate successfully channels the enthusiasm of their supporters and translates this enthusiasm over to the undecideds in these key states. That is who will likely wind up being the next president when one considers the electoral map.

If Trump wins everything Mitt Romney won in 2012, plus Ohio and Florida, that puts him at 253 electoral college votes. Pennsylvania with its 20 electoral college votes, then, could put Trump over the top of the 270 electoral college votes needed to win.

But to get there he needs the light bulb to go off among late deciders. Take Pittsburgh, where Trump is down by just 2 points in the Remington poll, but 6 points are up for grabs as undecided. Other cities like Harrisburg, Johnstown and Philadelphia remain 8 percent undecided.

In 1989, an analysis by Nick Panagakis that appeared in the Polling Report found that 80 percent of the time, most or all undecideds tend to break for the challenger over the incumbent. Another troubling sign for incumbents is if they poll less than 50 percent consistently. As Panagakis noted, “ The overwhelming evidence is that an incumbent won’t share the undecideds equally with the challenger. To suggest otherwise by emphasizing point spread or to say that an incumbent is ahead when his or her percentage is well under 50 percent leads to election day surprises.”

Keep that in mind as we head into the closing days. In these battlegrounds states, Hillary Clinton has hardly been breaking above 45 percent, let alone 50 percent. That could prove extremely problematic for her come election day if the incumbent rule applies to her. If it does, that could mean the current polls may be telling us a lot more about how the public feels about Clinton than they do about Trump.

This year in the race for the White House, President Barack Obama is not running, so the incumbent is not running per se. But Democrats do hold the White House nonetheless and remain the incumbent party. Hillary Clinton served as Obama’s Secretary of State for 4 years. She, therefore, takes on the characteristics of an incumbent.

Donald Trump on the other hand, has never held elective office — although he was very well known as a celebrity and businessman prior to running, with high name recognition — but nonetheless may take on the characteristics of the challenger.

In 2008, a similar pattern played out, where Barack Obama, the challenger, overperformed what polls said on a state-by-state basis. For example, the last few batches of polls had Obama either slightly ahead or practically tied with McCain in Ohio. Almost no one had him over 50 percent. But on election day, Obama actually won 51.5 percent of the vote in Ohio, winning by 263,000 votes. Same story in Florida, Obama, the challenger did not poll above 50 percent there — some only had him at 47 or 49 percent — but he won 51 percent of the vote there. Nowhere was McCain over 50 percent in the polls, nor was he ever leading. It didn’t bode well for McCain, who represented the incumbent Republicans.

Which is the difference here. There are national polls that show Clinton ahead, while some of the more reliable ones show the race too close to call, particularly in key battleground states. While 2008 had things pretty well in hand for Obama, it’s a far more mixed bag this time around.

Still, key races remain close, so the ultimate question may be if the public views Trump as a challenger, or if based on his notoriety he’s taken on the characteristics of an incumbent. Enthusiasm also looms as a key question.

If Trump gets the challenger treatment and his supporters remain fired up, he is likely to significantly overperform what he’s showing in the polls right now. That is certainly what happened in the Republican primaries while they were still competitive. In state after state leading up to Ted Cruz’ last stand in Indiana, Trump overperformed his polling averages, in some cases by as much as 10 points.

To do it again, in the closing days, assuming Trump sticks his leads in Ohio, Florida and North Carolina, watch for Trump to be spending the final week barnstorming Pennsylvania making closing arguments about how it’s time for a changing of the guard. As Manning noted, this race will likely come down to the enthusiasm of each candidates supporters to not only get out to vote but to get like-minded friends and neighbors to do the same. If the apparent enthusiasm for Trump on the ground translates into increased turnout of the key constituencies who support him, he will win.

Ultimately, like most elections, it comes down to which candidate’s supporters want it more. And isn’t that the way it should be?

Robert Romano is the senior editor of Americans for Limited Government

EXCLUSIVE: ORP Caught Managing Fake Twitter Account To Attack Trump Campaign

The Ohio Republican Party continues to eat sour grapes over the presidential election. The Trump campaign’s Ohio point person, Bob Paduchik, sent a letter tossing John Kasich’s handpicked Chairman Matt Borges to the wind for working against the campaign.

Borges is trying to become the next RNC Chairman, but all he’s proven in the past couple of weeks is that he’s not ready for amateur hour.

There has been suspicion that the ORP has been using fake Twitter accounts to not only attack Democrats and the press but also other Republicans. And now there is proof!

Twitter will sync your contacts with their Twitter handles. And Ohio Republican Party Executive Director Katie Eagan contact card shows that she is running the account @BobPadoucheBag.

eagan

So, under the direction of Matt Borges, the Ohio Republican Party is attacking the Trump campaign. In case the Twitter account is deleted, a screenshot is below.

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The ORP was outsmarted by a smart phone. Eagan’s attempt to smear Paduchik was exposed right through her contact card in an iPhone.

Another ORP alumni who recently worked for John Kasich’s Super Pac has been attacking Paduchik on Twitter also. Dave Luketic tweeted using the #ImWithMatt hashtag to disparage Paduchik as well. Except, Luketic probably should look at history as Paduchik successfully ran campaigns in 2000 and 2004 for Bush Cheney in Ohio and Rob Portman in 2010.

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Matt Borges wants to be the next RNC Chair, but he is working against the nominee of the party that he chairs. This backhanded approach isn’t about “principles” because Trump is the nominee. This is about Borges’ quest for power and a future presidential run by John Kasich.

We cannot have a Chairman who works against Republicans and the grassroots activists of the party. Borges should resign as Ohio Republican Party Chairman and give up the quest for RNC Chairman.