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Cordray launches counter TV ad

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    The Cordray-Sutton Committee launched “Truth,” an ad that features Republican Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart.

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    The Cordray-Sutton Committee today launched “Truth” - a new ad in response to the false attacks by Mike DeWine on Rich Cordray’s record of aggressively working to clear the backlog of untested rape kits.

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COLUMBUS — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray on Friday launched a TV ad campaign to counter Republican opponent Mike DeWine’s claim that he had to clean up a backlog of some 12,000 untested rape kits left behind by his predecessor as attorney general.

The 30-second ad, dubbed “Truth,” features Shelby County Sheriff John Lenhart, a Republican in uniform, saying that it was Mr. Cordray who put the technology and system in place during his two years as attorney general to address a backlog he inherited.

“The backlog stretched for decades. Rich fixed it,” Mr. Lenhart states in the ad.

WATCH: Richard Cordray’s TV ad

He goes on to say that, despite being a Republican, he’s supporting Mr. Cordray in this year’s race for governor.

“I’ve seen Cordray and DeWine in action,” he says. “I know them both, and I’m for Rich all the way. I’m voting for the man, not the party, and so are cops across Ohio.”

The fact that the Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio endorsed Mr. Cordray over Mr. DeWine appears on the screen.

Mr. Lenhart, formerly a Democrat, is serving his seventh term as county sheriff, but he worked under Mr. Cordray as assistant attorney general of law enforcement. Mr. DeWine let him go upon taking office, the Republican’s campaign spokesman Joshua Eck said.

Earlier this week, Mr. DeWine launched his own ad touting the recent completion of the testing of the rape kits during his nearly eight years in office. The ad featured Allyssa Allison, who credited Mr. DeWine with her rapist being identified as a result of the testing of evidence in her case.

“Cordray’s failure left serial rapists free to strike again,” the ad’s narrator states. “Then Mike DeWine became attorney general, and he tested all 12,000 rape kits. Now hundreds of rapists are behind bars.”

Mr. Cordray, then state treasurer, was elected in a special election in 2008 to replace former Attorney General Marc Dann, who resigned amid scandal in his office. Two years later, Mr. DeWine, a former U.S. senator, narrowly defeated Mr. Cordray.

“When Richard Cordray was attorney general, he sat on the rape kits he had at his crime lab and didn't go after the rape kits he didn't have,” Tim McGinty, former Cuyahoga County prosecutor and a Democrat, said for the DeWine campaign.

“Thousands of rape kits should have been tested and cases prosecuted before Mike DeWine took office as AG,” he said. “DeWine did what Cordray should have done — collected, tested, and prosecuted 1,000 rapists. What bothers me is those rapists who Cordray ignored kept victimizing women and children as the kits gathered dust.”

The two candidates are vying in the Nov. 6 election to replace Republican Gov. John Kasich.

Cordray spokesman Mike Gwin said the ad will air statewide. The DeWine ad is also airing statewide. Neither campaign would disclose the dollar amount of the ad buy.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.

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