He’s a Steelworker. He’s been married 32 years and has 4 children. He spent 2 years in the military. He worked 2nd shift his whole life, and only became politically active with the Steelworkers in 2002
I met with the candidate the day after Christmas at the law office and he chose a name for his fundraising committee, appointed a treasurer, and submitted his initial campaign finance statement. The first one was simple because it’s a waiver: he doesn’t have any campaign funds. We are relying on the Ohio Campaign Finance Handbook, which is (surprisingly!) easy to use as a reference. It even has pictures: picture of candidate at a podium, picture of stacks of cash and scattered coins, (true), picture of a calculator. Looking at the pictures we need: a guy in a suit, a big stack of cash, and a 1980’s calculator.
In our two prevous conversations he had mentioned “skeletons in the closet” so I asked him about that. Turns out “the skeletons” are a single minor misdemeanor “no contest” plea in 1989.
In my work, I have noticed that people who have a complicated past or youthful indiscretions often don’t have an accurate or rational view of the relevance or importance of those incidents. They seem to go to extremes. They either dismiss fairly serious incidents and behavior completely, or get down on their knees and beg forgiveness for minor infractions.
John takes the second approach, so I told him in my opinion he does not have to start every speech or campaign event with a full, tearful confession complete with vows to never, ever veer from the straight and narrow again. If it comes up – and I’m sure it will because everyone but me apparently already knew about it – he should just cop to what was momentary stupidity and move on.
Working in this office, and in this profession, I sometimes think half the ordinary people in this county are walking around feeling like criminals, which is interesting, because many of the most successful and celebrated people in this country don’t seem to feel they have any moral or ethical duty at all.
I had some names of local people he might want to contact or meet with, and I was pleased that he knows, or knows of, all of the names I mentioned, in that tangential way that one “knows” people: “my son’s wife works with her.” Like that. I love to talk politics, so I also had some (perhaps unwelcome) suggestions for what he might talk about in his campaign, but it turns out he has has very firm ideas of his own and his are cleaner and less complicated than mine. The first time I spoke with him he told me he wasn’t a Republican anymore because “trickle down doesn’t work” and that’s what he’s going to talk about. Sounds good to me.
His is a long shot candidacy. This is an overwhelmingly Republican district and the incumbent is a practiced pol. A culture warrior. A person who sponsored a bill last session regarding Lake Erie that was so environmentally unsound, so clearly the work of business interest lobbyists, that a former Republican Governor and US Senator testified that the bill should be vetoed by the current Governor, and it was. It’s got to be pretty bad for Kasich to veto it. This law would have both violated an agreement with Canada and destroyed Lake Erie. So we have the worst of conservatism: a guy who screams really loud about issues like ABORTION to cover the fact that he’s busy selling public assets like Lake Erie. But for the intervention of two GOP heavy-hitters, a former Senator and a former Governor, he might have succeeded.
Before he left I told John he’s already better at this than the current Governor of Texas and a certain former (disgraced, granted, but still) member of the US House, because John submitted his ballot-qualifying signatures on time. Compared to Leroy “Newt” Gingrich and Rick Perry that makes him a model of campaign professionalism his first time out.