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Published: Thursday, 10/14/2010

Strickland election 'a top priority'

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS - The chairman of the Democratic Governors Association Wednesday said getting Gov. Ted Strickland re-elected is one of the organization's top priorities as polls show the race against Republican challenger John Kasich continues to tighten.

Delaware Gov. Jack Markell stood among bulldozers outside a Columbus waste-to-energy facility to say the Washington-based group is committed to using its resources in the final weeks before the vote to help Mr. Strickland.

The organization has been behind some of those ads linking Mr. Kasich to Wall Street while its Republican counterpart has been behind the ads saying Mr. Strickland "didn't get the jobs done.''

"They've had more resources than we've had nationally,'' Mr. Markell said. "The fact that we've been competitive in Ohio ought to demonstrate our: a) total confidence in Governor Strickland, and b) our belief he's going to win, and c) how important it is to the country overall.''

The DGA has estimated it will spend more nationally in October of this year than it did in all of 2006. The organization has about $50 million to invest in state gubernatorial races.

Kasich Kasich
ANDY MORRISON / AP Enlarge

Rasmussen Reports Wednesday moved Ohio's gubernatorial race from its "Leans GOP'' column to "Toss Up.'' Its latest poll of likely voters showed Mr. Kasich leading Mr. Strickland 48 percent to 45 percent, a statistical tie given the margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

With less than three weeks before the Nov. 2 election, President Barack Obama will rally the party faithful Sunday night on the Oval on the Ohio State University campus and will participate in a pair of fund-raisers while here.

The fellow governors spoke outside two anaerobic digester tanks at Quasar Energy Group's site that will begin accepting sewage sludge, crop waste, and food waste for conversion into methane gas energy later this month. They stood with Mel Kurtz, Quasar's Republican CEO who has appeared in a campaign commercial supporting Mr. Strickland.

Mr. Strickland used the project, made possible with state loans and grants, to tout Ohio's progress in pursuing alternative energy technology.

"If Mr. Kasich were to win this election, much of what we've done would be placed at risk …" Mr. Strickland said. "What he has said and, quite frankly, probably more importantly what he has not said about his commitment to a renewable energy future for our state, causes me to be concerned.''

Ohio law currently requires that utilities find at least 25 percent of their electricity from renewable or advanced technology sources by 2025.

"John is opposed to government mandates that cause harmful increases in energy prices,'' Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said. "Low energy prices are critical to protecting manufacturing jobs. He supports increasing renewable generation in Ohio and would not repeal our renewable energy program, but he wants to make sure we're doing everything possible to prevent Ohio's utilities from having to buy expensive electricity from out of state.

"John's support for low energy prices is in direct contrast to Ted Strickland's support for the Obama climate change policies which will kill Ohio's low-cost coal power and cripple our manufacturing jobs," he said.

Contact Jim Provance at:

jprovance@theblade.com,

or 614-221-0496.



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