While many voters were flipping burgers to celebrate Independence Day, Ohio’s gubernatorial candidates were hitting the streets working for votes.
Among the hundreds of thousands of people who flocked to Columbus for the annual Red, White and BOOM! celebration, were Mike DeWine (R) and Richard Cordray (D). Both candidates were surrounded by supporters as they marched in the parade and took time to answer questions about the issues they’re campaigning on.
“We’re trying to canvas the entire state, Betty Sutton and I,” Cordray said. “We’re getting out to big towns, small towns, rural areas. We want to fight for every vote. We want everyone to know that we respect them and we want to make our case to them.”
DeWine is also working on connecting with voters and is laying out his education plan, which includes early childhood education for young children and job and college preparedness for older students.
“You know, it’s a scary thing that we have some kids starting kindergarten that have half the vocabulary of other kids,” DeWine said. “That’s not fair to them, so we have got to try to help them earlier on. If we expect kids to read by third grade, they’ve got to get a good start. If we expect kids to be able to graduate on time and either be truly college-ready or have a job waiting or be in an apprenticeship program or something that will leave them with a job, that is the goal.”
Despite the festivities surrounding them, both DeWine and Cordray have some explaining to do.
After months of claiming his office has no jurisdiction to go after the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow — the charter school accused of overcharging the state by millions of dollars — DeWine is now saying he will go after the personal assets of ECOT’s founder, William Lager.
“What we’ve done is try to go after them civilly to try to get the tax payers’ dollars back,” DeWine said. “Every case we have gone after, we have won. Now it’s time to make him pay because he is the one that is ultimately really responsible.”
Cordray says DeWine’s efforts didn’t come soon enough.
“It’s pretty late. We have $80 million missing, we have $180 million from taxpayers defrauded,” he said. “We have kids who have failed, parents who were misled, and Mike DeWine did nothing to oversee any of this during the period when all of it went south.”
But Cordray is also taking heat for comments he made comparing Republican lawmakers who did not stand up to the Kasich administration’s cuts to the local government fund to Nazis.
“Nobody’s perfect, but I think when you’re fighting for the things people care about, the things on their minds are healthcare, education, better jobs and opportunity,” he said.
Cordray has yet to back down from the Nazi comment, but his campaign said he regrets it.
“I think we can’t have politics built on hatred,” he said. “We have to work with one another, support one another. We have to brace the talents of everyone in Ohio if we’re going to push forward into our future.”