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Legendary Dem consultant says Dems should replace Fitzgerald as nominee

Should Ohio Dems dump Fitzgerald?

Should Ohio Dems dump Fitzgerald?

Jerry Austin is a very well known Democrat strategist in Ohio. Just take a look at his bio and how many big name Democrats have come to Austin for help on their campaigns.

Mr. Austin has worked on behalf of President Jimmy Carter, Senator Gary Hart, Senator Paul Tsongas, Senator Carol Moseley Braun, Senator Paul Wellstone, Senator Sherrod Brown, Senator John Glenn, Governor Richard Celeste, Governor Jim Guy Tucker, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Mayor Jane Campbell, Obama for President and numerous members of Congress.

In an interview with WKSU’s Karen Kasler, we learn that Austin was one of the Democrats criticizing Ed Fitzgerald for his choice of Eric Kearney as his running mate, even though he knew about Kearney’s tax issues.

One of them is retired Democratic consultant Gerald Austin, who says there’s no way to completely undo the damage since Kearney’s tax problems went public.

“It can’t. It already looks bad. The first thing you always want to do when you’re picking a running mate is not to have stories that are going on for a week about, ‘Why’d you pick him when you knew the information?’ And that’s happened now.”

What’s even more revealing is that Austin doesn’t think Ohio Democrats should stop at removing Kearney from the top of their ticket. He says they need to push Fitzgerald out, too.

Austin goes further than calling for Kearney to leave the ticket. He says Cincinnati-area state Rep. Connie Pillich — an Air Force vet and lawyer running for state treasurer — should be the Democrats’ gubernatorial candidate instead of FitzGerald.

Wow.

Austin also once said of Fitzgerald,

“Ed FitzGerald is a guy in heat. He’s been wanting to run for something all the time…He would be no break from Mason or Russo or Dimora.”

When ORP Chairman Matt Borges mentioned Austin’s comments to Kasler this morning on Twitter, Ohio Democrats attempted to respond by saying, get this, Austin isn’t a Democrat strategist.

To borrow a phrase from Fitzgerald spokesman Matt McGrath, that’s laughable.

It is true that Austin did some work for Matt Dolan, a Republican running for Cuyahoga County Executive in 2010. However, that one campaign doesn’t negate the huge body of work Austin has completed for major Democratic candidates.

And if ODP Spokesman Jerid Kurtz says Borges is a liar for calling Austin a Democrat consultant, then he’s also calling Karen Kasler a liar. And virtually every other journalist who has ever written about Austin.

Whether they want to run away from Austin or not, they may want to take his advice.

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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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