Imagination alone may not be sufficient to appreciate just how upset a politically motivated website, that skewers and parodies Ohio Gov. John Kasich for his run for state chief executive in 2010, the nearly four years he has spent running the state so far, and his run for the White House should he be reelected this year that virtually everyone with few exceptions expects him to make, is making Team Kasich Monday.
Central Ohioans Countering Kasich [COCK] claims it’s a statewide Ohio PAC dedicated to stopping the reelection of Gov. Kasich. COCK advertises itself as a complete package: “With our political and media capabilities we can stick it to Kasich from every angle!!,” it boasts. One of the parodists behind COCK is Travis Levine, someone who ran unsuccessfully against central Ohio Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi on the Libertarian Party ticket in 2010. The over-the-top website asks readers to make a “generous donation to help put our ads on the air around Ohio and get out our message that KASICH BLEW IT!!” Although his name is not mentioned, some Democratic cognoscenti think long-time central Ohio activist Bob Fitrakis, publisher of the Columbus Free Press, can be found behind the curtain of the attack website.
The politically saucy and irreverent website says it has “political and media knowhow” capable enough to “whip out the hard facts and expose Kasich for what he is.” Whether it’s the left or right of the political spectrum, COCK wants donations so it can put it’s TV/radio spots on the air and logos/messages on billboards and in mailboxes all across Ohio.
In 2010, following three years of huge job losses in Ohio due to the effects of the Great Recession, the second worst economic catastrophe next to the Great Recession of the 1930s, then incumbent Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat elected in 2006 following years of GOP scandal from pay-to-play schemes hatched in and around Capital Square in Columbus, lost a tight election that fewer than half of Ohio’s registered voters turned out for by 77,127 votes. The Kasich Administration took office with friendly winds from a Republican-led legislature at its back. Ohio’s GOP legislature has largely given Gov. Kasich everything he asked for, which included privatizing the state’s economic development activities, a change that countered nearly 40 years of a pubic and transparent operation that subsequently went dark when JobsOhio, Gov. Kasich most prized effort to date to create jobs, was exempted by Republican lawmaker from public scrutiny.
Gov. Kasich vowed he would be a firewall to a second term for President Obama in 2012 if elected in 2010 . President Obama, whose GOP challenger was Mitt Romney, a candidate Gov. Kasich took a while to warm up to but who he eventually stumped for in the months leading up to the fall vote two years ago, won Ohio again. Critics of Kasich say there is virtually no light between what Romney represented and campaigned for and the governor’s priorities and values. Democrats have nominated the little-known executive of Cuyahoga County, Ed FitzGerald, who across a handful of polls performed this year trails the incumbent by as few as handful of points to as many as 15, according to the last Quinnipiac Poll.
In the nearly 60 days since Gov. Kasich aired his first TV campaign ad, a 60-second spot focusing on his biography and blue-collar background, Ed FitzGerald has aired nothing on TV to introduce him to a state in which as many as three-quarters of the population say in polls that they don’t know who he is. Kasich’s ad ran statewide at a cost $350,000.
FitzGerald countered Gov. Kasich’s TV ad with a radio ad that ran statewide. Called “Not working,” it cost the FitzGerald campaign $200,000 for the minute spot. For ever dollar in campaign cash that Gov. Kasich has now, FitzGerald can only claim one-fifth as much. FitzGerald has come under criticism of late for poor fundraising, and with about five months left until Election Day in early November, many are starting to wonder whether he really can defeat a strong incumbent like Kasich, who has Republicans in all statewide offices and a Republican-led legislature who will back him at every turn, be it through legislation designed to enhance his work to date or bills that become an obstacle to Democrats and progressives whose outlook for a win in November is tempered by the reality that their voter base doesn’t show up in off-year elections as Republicans do.