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Ohio Dems Witness Organizing and Fundraising Boom, Expect the State to Go Obama’s Way in 2012

An article published this morning suggests that Ohio Governor John Kasich’s hot pursuit of anti-collective bargaining legislation last year has caused tremendous damage to the Republican party in 2012 and provided Democrats with a tangible boost:

Ohio Democrats are enjoying greater fundraising and the unlikely return of middle class “Reagan Democrats” to the party after voters repealed a law championed by Governor John Kasich to limit collective bargaining rights for fire fighters, police officers, and other state workers.

“We had some of the best fundraising months in our state’s history in an odd year, and those dollars came from … low dollar donors that had not participated in the party but were drawn to it because of the attacks on collective bargaining,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

Online donations alone for the party quadrupled in 2011.

“It’s indicative of a pendulum swinging in our direction, taking advantage of what occurred at the state level and now going into 2012 with a full head of steam,” Redfern said.

While Republicans in the state have poo-pooed the lingering impact of the SB5/Issue 2 battle on the coming election, Romney’s choice words for labor make it tough to discount whom voters will associate which issues with:

Romney made news last year when he visited Ohio and first declined to take a position on the controversy before later offering his full backing for the governor’s effort to reduce public unions’ rights.

“Ohio labor is going to remember that, and if they don’t, I’m going to remind them,” said Dave Spurrier, 61, a retired high school teacher at a gathering of Obama campaign volunteers in Hamilton.

Romney has taken an anti-union line as a candidate. He opposed the government bailout of Michigan’s auto companies and the role unions played in their rescue.

Ohio also relies on auto-related jobs, so Romney’s negative rhetoric on that issue along with his support of Kasich’s collective bargaining crackdown were not lost on workers here.

“Mitt Romney said that he supported Senate Bill 5 and Issue 2, so he’ll have a lot of explaining to do to police officers and firefighters, nurses, teachers and working people in general as to why he was on the wrong side of where Ohioans were,” said Tim Burga, the president of the Ohio AFL-CIO, a labor group.

Unions play a critical role in Ohio elections. According to the AFL-CIO, union voters supported Obama over Republican McCain in 2008 by 60 percent to 39 percent. Union voters accounted for 13 percent of the overall vote that year and union household voters represented 28 percent. Union voters and households made up 21 percent of the national electorate in the same year.

Read more HERE.


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