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Published: Saturday, 5/1/2010

Fisher urges backers not to relax

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER
Fisher Fisher
TONY DEJAK / AP Enlarge

Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, competing for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate in the primary election Tuesday, told supporters in a downtown Toledo restaurant Friday that a poll showing him in the lead is no reason to ease up.

"This race is much closer than the recent poll that came out showed," Mr. Fisher said to a table of supporters in P.J.'s Deli at 400 Madison Ave. "Things can change quickly and I don't want to take anything for granted."

Mr. Fisher is battling Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner for the nomination. He has outspent her, especially on television advertising, and a recent poll by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute of Connecticut showed him pulling away.

The survey of 987 likely Democratic voters showed Mr. Fisher leading Ms. Brunner 41 to 24 percent, but with a third of voters undecided and half still open to changing their minds.

The winner of the Tuesday primary will face Republican Rob Portman, a former Cincinnati-area congressman and official in the administration of President George W. Bush, in November. The seat is held by Republican George Voinovich, who is retiring.

Mr. Fisher encouraged his supporters to take bumper stickers and drop postcards off to friends, and to wear campaign stickers with his name.

He predicted because of Ohio's reputation for close elections, national attention will focus on Ohio whether he or Ms. Brunner wins on Tuesday.

He said Mr. Portman's votes in support of President Bush as a former congressman and his service as the President's trade adviser in 2005 and budget director in 2006, make him an "architect" of policies that caused the loss of jobs overseas and the failure to regulate Wall Street.

Mr. Fisher previewed what he said will be one of his themes - a takeoff on a quote from Mr. Portman that he "knows where the bodies are buried."

"What I'm going to say is, you may know where the bodies are buried in Washington, D.C. - which I assume means you know who holds the power in D.C. and how to exercise the power - but I'm going to say that his policies, in a sense, buried the middle class," Mr. Fisher said.

"I don't think the people of Ohio want to go back to the same people and the same policies that got us into the deepest economic ditch in most of our lifetimes," Mr. Fisher said.

Jessica Towhey, a spokesman for Mr. Portman, issued a brief response:

"Job Czar Lee Fisher will say anything to avoid responsibility for the more than 430,000 jobs lost while he was in charge of economic development for Ohio. He says he's 'proud' of that failed record, but Ohio voters know he doesn't deserve a promotion," Ms. Towhey said.

Mr. Fisher spoke in favor of two statewide issues - Issue 1 that authorizes bonds for the development of advanced technology businesses, and Issue 2 that would allow a casino in Columbus to relocate in the city. He said the defeat of Issue 2 would likely trigger lawsuits that could slow down the start of construction of three other casinos planned for Ohio, including one in Toledo.

Betsy Ujvagi, vice president of the Lucas County Young Democrats, told Mr. Fisher her group is split down the middle but will back the winner of the primary.

"So I am excited to bring them all over," Ms. Ujvagi said.

Mr. Fisher is due in Lima at noon today for a "jobs roundtable" at the United Auto Workers Local 1219 Park, 1750 Bible Rd.

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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