Blackwell joins Strickland in calling himself a candidate for change.
By DON SHILLING
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Ken Blackwell said he will show in today's gubernatorial debate that Ted Strickland has been undistinguished in Congress.
Blackwell, a Republican secretary of state, said at an appearance Monday at the Canfield Fair that he will portray the Democratic contender as not having any legislative accomplishments.
Blackwell added that he will stress that the "job situation is his district is dismal." Strickland, of Lisbon, D-6th, represents part of the Mahoning Valley and an area south of here.
The debate will air at noon on WFMJ-TV 21. The Vindicator and its online edition Vindy.com join the station as sponsors.
In a story Monday, Keith Dailey, a Strickland campaign official, told The Vindicator that the candidate will contrast his positions with the "at times irresponsible, over-the-top ideas" of Blackwell. Specifically, Dailey attacked Blackwell's idea to sell the Ohio Turnpike, and his school funding proposal.
Blackwell's campaign didn't respond to requests for interviews for that story.
Where he stands
At the fair, however, Blackwell presented himself as a candidate of change, even though he seeks to replace a fellow Republican, Bob Taft.
Based on Strickland's record, Blackwell said he thought his opponent would be a tinkerer if elected governor. More dramatic leadership is needed, he said.
"It's time for us to have a governor who doesn't put the brake on change but puts his foot on the accelerator of change. I am the accelerator. Strickland is the brake," Blackwell said to cheers from his supporters at the Republican tent.
It seems as if change will be a main theme during the debate.
At a rally Friday in Youngstown, Strickland asked his supporters if they were ready for change. He said he would change the way Ohio is run, mentioning that he would aim to fix school funding and create an administration that "looks like the people of Ohio."
At the fair, Blackwell talked about the tax reform and tax cuts passed by a Republican-dominated state Legislature. He noted that only one Democratic legislator, Dixie Allen, voted for the changes, and she has since changed parties.
"She saw the light," Blackwell said.
He said he thinks others will join the Republican cause.
"We offer an agenda of change, growth and job creation," he said.