Bernadette Noe, chairman of the Lucas County Republican Party, charged yesterday that county Commissioner Sandy Isenberg's failure to get her supporters in local labor unions to pull a radio ad attacking her opponent, Maggie Thurber, fits a pattern of irresponsibility.
Ms. Isenberg maintained that the ad was purchased by the Northwestern Ohio Building & Construction Trades Council, not her campaign. She said yesterday morning that she had already asked the union to pull the ad, and she expected the group's executive committee to decide yesterday afternoon what to do.
“It's up to them to remove the ad,'' she said.
She argued that her campaign has still been positive, while Ms. Thurber's has been negative.
The call to kill the ad came a day after the Toledo-Lucas County Clean Campaign Committee ruled that the spots violated a clean campaign pledge that Ms. Isenberg signed in March.
Last night, the ads were still running on radio station WSPD-AM (1370). WSPD board operator Tom Riggs said the union ad was to run at least a half dozen times in the evening according to the station's commercial scheduling log.
“Even after the Clean Campaign Committee has ruled against her, finding she violated her pledge to voters, she refuses to take responsibility,” Ms. Noe said yesterday. “The pledge included her promise to not use or agree to let outside parties use subtle deceptions, half-truths, and falsifications.”
Playing off Ms. Isenberg's campaign theme of “Real leadership, real results,” Ms. Noe said that “Real results only mean one thing: Remove those misleading commercials from the air now, Sandy, and apologize to the voters for breaking your written pledge.”
Both county party chairmen said yesterday that they think the clean-campaign pledge can play a useful role in the process they follow to confer endorsements on candidates.
“If it were up to me, I think it could be a legitimate part of the endorsement process. It is a legitimate question we should ask any candidate who would like an endorsement,” said Ms. Noe. Republican endorsements are conferred by the party's central committee. Assuming Gov. Bob Taft wins re-election, she said that “we'll have some [local judicial] appointments to be made after the first of the year, and that's where we will start this process.”
Paula Ross, chairman of the county Democratic Party, said she encouraged her candidates to sign the pledge this spring, and most did. “It's unlikely to become an absolute requirement” for endorsement, but “it would be helpful to evaluate a prospective candidate's understanding of campaign strategy,” she said. “I can't think of a candidate who goes into a race saying: `I'm going to run a negative campaign.'”