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Ohio Dems are stuck with Fitzgerald, and they can thank Chairman Redfern

Could this be the end of Chris Redfern?

Could this be the end of Chris Redfern?

We have witnessed probably the most spectacular meltdown of an Ohio gubernatorial campaign ever in the last week.

You know it’s bad when the candidate’s hometown newspaper published not one, not two…but three editorials in one day, all proclaiming your race to be all but over. The Plain Dealer really piled on. Be sure to read them all in their entirety, but below are some key excerpts.

Brent LarkinEd FitzGerald’s campaign is over except for the epitaph, but he may take down the rest of the ticket, too.

Not only will Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald lose the election for governor by a huge margin, he’ll probably take the entire statewide ticket down with him.

Worse yet, driving around without a valid license is so fundamentally wrong, so incredibly stupid, and its wrongness and stupidity so easy to understand, that it will raise doubts about FitzGerald in the mind of nearly every thoughtful voter — of either political party.

From the editorial boardMurky responses further muddy the waters of FitzGerald gubernatorial campaign.

Now a lack of forthrightness about an Oct. 13, 2012, Westlake police report — that described FitzGerald “and a friend just talking” in an industrial park at 4:30 a.m. — could turn into the end of his campaign.

If FitzGerald hopes to retain a modicum of credibility as the populist who preaches ethical and open government, then he must do as he says.

Let’s start with the release of his parking key-card swipe data. FitzGerald refuses to do so on the specious grounds that it would compromise his safety.

Then, let’s hear the truth on the driving records.

If FitzGerald wants voters to elect him to higher office, he must demonstrate that he has the inner fortitude to confront tough news and respond forthrightly. So far, he is failing that test.

Finally, Phillip MorrisEd FitzGerald’s driving history will continue to haunt his race for governor.

But this driver’s license ordeal is a completely different matter that offers unique insight into behavior and character. It’s juvenile decision-making at best.

How else does a man who seeks the job that would give him sweeping control of state government, including oversight of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, flout the BMV’s own rules?

How is it that a man, who served as mayor of Lakewood and now executive of Cuyahoga County not find it necessary to follow the simplest rules of the road (a valid adult driver’s license), while plotting to gain control of the Ohio Department of Public Safety in the fall election?

The answer is simple: He’s green and appears to be flying by the seat of his pants.

Some people have speculated that the disgraced Fitzgerald might step down as the nominee to allow the Ohio Democratic Party to appoint a new candidate. But it’s too late for that. Yesterday, August 5th, was last day that a candidate for governor could be replaced.

So, for Ohio Democrats, it’s Ed Fitzgerald…or no one. And Larkin is absolutely right. This could end up taking down the entire Democrat ticket in Ohio, due to lack of Democrat voter turnout.

Not just the statewide candidates, either. Close races in the Ohio General Assembly could swing to the GOP, further strengthening their majorities. The huge Democrat population of Cuyahoga County could stay home, and allow for Republican Jack Schron to take over Fitz’s current office of County Executive, instead of Armond Budish. County commissioner seats across the state all of a sudden could be swung towards Republicans.

Who would Democrats have to blame for this? Their initial anger would be directed at Fitzgerald himself.

But the REAL blame would lie on one man, whose job it was to see this coming, and to avoid it. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern.

Just like Fitzgerald failed to vet his first running mate, State Senator Eric Kearney, Redfern failed to vet Fitzgerald.

If you’re going to vet somebody, wouldn’t one of the first things to check be the candidates driving record? Not to check if he had a license. As a grown man, we all assume our fellow adults driving around have licenses. But what about DUIs or accidents where the candidate might have caused death or injury?

Either Redfern knew Fitzgerald drove without a license for 10 years, or he failed to even check. Either way, he failed his own party.

This isn’t the first time Redfern has failed miserably, but it should be the nail in his coffin. This could be the end of Chris Redfern.

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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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