Yesterday, the Ohio Republican Party came forward with their first major attack against the Strickland campaign.
The Ohio Republican Party called Gov. Ted Strickland a hypocrite today for criticizing GOP challenger John Kasich’s work at Lehman Brothers while taking contributions from Wall Street and giving state business to Lehman.
Politically speaking, the timing was impeccable.
Ted Strickland and his allies have made attacks against John Kasich’s tenure at Lehman Brothers the centerpiece of Ted’s re-election campaign. He’s fully invested into the strategy. And after months of television advertisements, the voters know it. They connect Strickland and the Lehman attack as one.
Polls show Kasich’s approval numbers have only been minimally damaged by the attacks, and in some cases have improved. And despite it all, Kasich still maintains a lead over Strickland.
At the same time, polls from PPP and Quinnipiac show Strickland’s disapproval numbers actually increasing since the ads hit the air.
So what happens when those same voters that connect Strickland with Wall Street attacks find that their very own Governor doesn’t have much of a problem cozying up to Wall Street himself?
It damages the Governor.
Now in response, Strickland’s campaign team laughably tried to dismiss the entire attack based on the inclusion of certain professions as being considered a part of “Wall Street”. Nevermind the fact that they ignored two important things in their response.
First, in fact, Strickland did accept contributions from high powered individuals and PACs representing “Wall Street”, including heirs of the Lehman Brothers family. In other words, individuals that directly and greatly benefited from Lehman Brothers and its downfall, likely far more than John Kasich ever did, were found worthy of contributing to Ted Strickland as recently as 2009 and 2010.
But second, and most importantly, Strickland’s team failed to recognize that the Democratic Governors Association didn’t just use “Wall Street” ties to attack Kasich, but also tied in contributions from the “financial industry”.
From one of the DGA’s commercials:
Republicans later explained that Strickland, while still a member of Congress in the 1990s, voted for the commodity futures modernization act and financial services modernization act. Both measures, according to Republicans, broadly defined the financial services industry as including insurance companies along with investment banks.
“These are the terms that were defined by Ted Strickland and his Democratic allies. We used the same filter when we went through and looked at all his campaign contributions,” DeWine said. “They are the ones who defined Wall Street as the State Farm agent.”
Republicans also charged that Strickland or one of his appointees has awarded over $6 billion in work to Lehman or Barclay since 2007 through several deals.
Those transactions include two huge deals from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency which awarded one contract to Lehman in August 2008, a month before the firm collapsed, and another in October 2008, a month after Lehman went under, to Barclays, which took over part of Lehman.
Strickland’s campaign manager Pickrell did not address those charges.
You might as well have exclaimed, “guilty as charged!”
UPDATE: Watch the ORP presser here…