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Published: Thursday, 11/3/2005

Foes of Ohio $2B bond issue plan 4-day TV ad campaign


COLUMBUS Hoping that history will repeat itself, opponents to a $2 billion bond issue on Tuesday s ballot announced yesterday a late four-day TV advertising blitz urging voters to reject it.

A similar effort in 2003 was at least partially credited with the narrow defeat of Gov. Bob Taft s $500 million Third Frontier initiative for state investment in high-tech and medical research.

The latest ad, unveiled by the Liberty Committee chaired by conservative Ohio Roundtable President David Zanotti, focuses on the Taft trust factor and raises concerns the money could be used to finance embryonic stem-cell and human cloning research.

Should we give the Taft Administration $2 billion more in public dollars? it asks, an obvious reference to pay-to-play allegations at the Ohio Statehouse and the loss of hundreds of millions in failed workers compensation investments in rare coins and a Bermuda-based hedge fund.

In addition to including a second attempt at Third Frontier, the $2 billion package includes a $1.35 billion renewal and expansion of an existing local public works bond issue and a new $150 million bond issue for infrastructure improvements to shovel-ready development sites.

Mr. Zanotti would not comment on the size of the media buy beyond the fact the ads will be broadcast for four days immediately before the election.

When you re up against $2.4 million [raised by Issue 1 supporters] and all the big guns in Ohio, we knew we had to compress our time-frame strategically, he said. Our goal is to remind voters that Issue 1 is Bob Taft s issue. Why would you trust $2 billion to him so he can buy more Beanie Babies and baseball cards?

Lt. Gov. Bruce Johnson earlier this week announced a second statewide TV ad campaign that focuses on local workers and newspaper endorsements to sell the issue.

This is just the tip of the iceberg, said Mr. Johnson. We have hundreds of volunteers, people who ll work hard in each county to motivate grass-roots support.

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