Candidates bare sharp edge in TV ads
Sykes says she'll shape up the office; Taylor says Sykes hasn't done an audit.
By JEFF ORTEGA
COLUMBUS -- Television ads in the state auditor's race began airing statewide Tuesday with both Democrat Barbara Sykes and Republican Mary Taylor touting their experience while criticizing each other.
Voters will cast their ballots for state auditor and other state races Nov. 7.
Sykes' 30-second spot opens with a shot of the Statehouse.
The Sykes ad cuts to a picture of Sykes and a man walking.
A voice says: "Ohio. Let's clean up the corruption." The voice continues: "Barbara Sykes. Experience in an auditor's office. A track record standing up to corrupt politicians. Standing up for the people."
All the while, images flash by of Sykes, who in the past was a deputy Summit County auditor, in an office and in other settings. The ad later cuts to a picture of Sykes in front of the Statehouse. In the ad, Sykes snaps her fingers and the picture of the Statehouse brightens.
The ad later pictures Taylor, a state representative from suburban Akron, in a grainy photograph under the title "Pay to Play." A male voice in the ad says: "Mary Taylor, caught red-handed lobbying legislators to help political donors." The ad makes reference to concerns raised by Democrats that Taylor wrote a letter last year urging Republican colleagues in the Ohio House to extend funds for a University of Akron program in the state's two-year operating budget.
Taylor's letter indicated that some of the state GOP's largest donors had requested continued funding of the program -- the Institute for Global Business.
The ad goes on to cite a newspaper report that "Taylor's kowtowing to party bosses cost taxpayers money."
Taylor said she has long supported the University of Akron program, and that the only benefactors of her request were the students and professors in the program.
The Taylor campaign has filed a complaint with the Ohio Elections Commission against Sykes and her campaign alleging false statement. The Taylor campaign says the quote: "Taylor's kowtowing to party bosses cost taxpayers money" never appeared in the newspaper cited -- the Akron Beacon Journal -- on the date cited.
The commission has scheduled a Thursday probable-cause hearing on the matter.
Sykes' campaign spokeswoman Samantha Herd said the Sykes campaign erred on the date listed in the ad.
Herd said the quote comes from an editorial connected to the creation of a Summit County judgeship. Herd said the Sykes campaign is correcting the date and reissuing the ad.
Taft's tax increase
Meanwhile, the Taylor ad opens with an announcer saying, "Ohio is a mess. We need an experienced watchdog to protect our tax dollars." The Taylor spot then cuts to Taylor who says, "I'm Mary Taylor. I'm a certified public accountant with 16 years of experience." She continues, "In the Statehouse, I opposed Gov. Bob Taft's tax increase," a reference to the two-year state budget bill adopted in 2003 that included a temporary 1 percent boost in the state sales tax.
The announcer says, "Barbara Sykes voted for the Taft tax." The ad then cuts to footage of Sykes saying, "I did vote for the increase in taxes with Taft; I did vote for the increase in taxes." An announcer then says that Sykes "has no accounting degree and she's never performed a financial audit."
Herd said Sykes has been up front with people about her vote on the so-called Taft tax and that she's explained to people the tax helped preserve essential state services.