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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

GOP hands were up for Mitt

In Ohio, it appears at least one candidate may have begun to separate himself from the field for the Republican Party nomination for president in 2012.

Yes, it’s very early and things can — and will — likely change as time moves toward the May primary when GOP voters can make their selection.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachusetts governor from 2003 to 2007, had a fairly strong showing during the Ohio Republican Party’s Presidential Straw Poll conducted at the recent annual dinner in Cleveland.

Romney emerged as the early front-runner in Ohio as he took 25 percent of the vote out of nine candidates.

Other candidates were former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, 16 percent; U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, 15 percent; Texas Gov. Rick Perry, 14 percent (which he received as a write-in candidate); U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas with 9 percent; tied with 5 percent were former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania and businessman, columnist and radio host Herman Cain; former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich had 3 percent; and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman had 2 percent.

Other write-in candidates received 6 percent of the vote, according to the results.

According to a Quinnipiac University poll released July 21, Ohio voters are split 46-47 percent on whether President Barack Obama deserves a second term, and they give him a negative 46-50 percent job approval.

However Obama defeats four leading Republican presidential contenders, three by double digits,
The poll shows in Ohio, Obama leads Romney 45-41; tops former Alaska Gov. and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin 51-35 percent; beats Bachmann 49-36 percent; and leads Perry 47-35 percent.

Reform referendum?

Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed into law House Bill 194, which contained many election reforms for the state.
Former Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, a Democrat who now oversees the Courage Political Action Committee, champions a repeal of the law through a potential referendum for the November 2012 election.

She said such a referendum would halt the law from implementation until voters had their say.
“Petitions are being circulated for the threshold 1,000 signatures needed for the Attorney General and the Secretary of State to qualify the petition for circulation,” Brunner wrote earlier this month in an email to supporters. “To stop the law from taking effect, once the initial petition is qualified, petitions with at least 231,154 signatures must be filed by Sept. 29, 2011.”

According to Brunner, the potential referendum would look to stop many changes in House Bill 194, including:

n Cutting absentee voting (including by mail) by two weeks.

n In-person early voting taking take place over 14 days with no evening, Saturday afternoon or Sunday voting.

n Full Social Security numbers would have to be provided on absentee and provisional ballot ID envelopes.
n Rules would be softened on corporate political activity.

n Poll workers would not have to tell voters they are in the wrong precinct and, if they are, their vote won’t count.

n There would be no more 10 days after the election to give more information for provisional ballots to be counted.

n Lake County Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish hosts eighth annual Ferrante Winery Celebration from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Ferrante Winery and Ristorante in Harpersfield Township. See Ernie Koenig or Kathie Aufuldish-Freshour.

n Summertime Cookout for Chuck Hillier, a candidate for Painesville Township Trustee, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18 at Lake Erie Shores Beach Park in Painesville Township. See Ken Fitzsimmons or Diana Hillier.

n Kirtland Mayoral Candidate and City Councilman Doug Davidson will host an outdoor coffee and donut social at The Kirtland Community Center Soccer Field on Aug. 27 from 9 a.m. to noon. See Sean McGreal, Jim Yarborough or Gina Davidson.

For candidates who wish to submit items for this column, my weekly deadline is 5 p.m. Wednesday. Email and faxes are preferred.

Twitter: @newsheraldjah


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