Friday, November 29, 2013

Fudge expected to announce support for FitzGerald-Kearney today

Fudge expected to endorse FitzGerald for Governor today

There has been an inordinate amount of chatter around town about the dismal prospects of presumptive Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald. Much of it turns on rumors that he is hostile or insensitive to various unidentified black interests. Some go so far as to accuse him of being racist, claiming animus in his tenure as Lakewood mayor or his work to date as Cuyahoga County’s first-ever County Executive. And they top it off by citing the indifference of our area’s two most prominent black elected officials, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge and Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson.

We thought the evidence was scant for these claims even before it was announced that Fudge would join FitzGerald this morning for a “major” campaign event that is all but certain to be her endorsement of the FitzGerald-Kearney ticket. * And we would bet a reasonable sum that Jackson will endorse the ticket as well, though probably not before 2014 actually arrives.

Politics is fascinating because it often confounds linear models except when they count the ballots. The Republicans are favored in all of next year’s statewide races and they should be. They have the advantages of incumbency, will likely raise more money, and will be running against a ticket of newcomers to statewide elections. These are huge factors. But there are always wild cards. How the economy is performing is certainly key. Creeping unemployment is a potent threat to Gov. Kasich’s claim of Ohio’s miraculous economic recovery, which if it has occurred at all, has been neither wide, nor deep, nor lasting.

A second wild card is likely to be the status of the Affordable Health Care Act next fall. Will voters be totally turned off by the administration of this historic legislation? Or will they in sufficient numbers come to appreciate the beginnings of a new health care system that promises to be more rational and equitable than the old regime? Will Kasich be able to use his Medicaid expansion leadership to make headway with black voters? Or will they instead remember the draconian cuts to local schools and services occasioned by his state budget cuts, and his overreach in support of labor union strangulation?

And the biggest wild card of all may be Ohio’s antediluvian Tea Party. Will they support the GOP ticket, sit on their hands, or find a third alternative?


* The FitzGerald-Fudge event is scheduled to start at 10AM at the Memorial-Nottingham branch of the Cleveland Public Library, 17109 Lake Shore Blvd Cleveland, Ohio 44110.

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