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SB 5 foes take command in TV advertising campaign

Published: Mon, October 10, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.


Money spent by We Are Ohio in the Youngstown media market for television ads in its campaign against Issue 2*:

TV station/We Are Ohio ad buys

WKBN-TV 27: $114,650

WYTV 33: $49,020

21 WFMJ-TV: $116,000

WYFX 17/62: $23,040

*The groups Building a Better Ohio and Make Ohio Great have spent nothing in the local market

By Laura A. Bischoff

Dayton Daily News


The television ad war being waged statewide over Issue 2 appears to be lopsided in favor of the union-backed group seeking to defeat the collective- bargaining reforms targeted at more than 350,000 public workers.

We Are Ohio, the anti-Senate Bill 5 group, appears to be outspending Building a Better Ohio, a business and Republican-backed group, by a 5-to-2 ratio, according to files kept by 17 television stations across the state.

Through Oct. 13, We Are Ohio has plunked down more than $1.92 million for television ads in Dayton, Columbus, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Youngstown, while Building a Better Ohio, the group supporting Senate Bill 5, has spent more than $741,000 for TV ad time.

Make Ohio Great, which is funded by the Republican Governors Association, bought $441,000 in those same media markets to run ads featuring Gov. John Kasich advocating for “reasonable reforms” without specifically campaigning for Issue 2.

The numbers were compiled by a consortium of newspapers that includes the Dayton Daily News, The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, The Columbus Dispatch, The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Vindicator. They do not include the Akron and Toledo markets and give only a partial read on the Columbus and Cleveland markets.

We Are Ohio said its tracking of TV ad buys in all Ohio’s media markets shows a total of $9.4 mil- lion spent so far: $5.4 million by We Are Ohio, $2.8 million by Building a Better Ohio, and $1.2 million by Make Ohio Great.

“We are spending a significant amount of money on the airwaves,” said Melissa Fazekas, spokeswoman for We Are Ohio. She added, “But we do think we’ll be outspent at the end of the day.”

Jason Mauk, spokesman for Building a Better Ohio, said, “It is a policy that we do not discuss our ad strategy so I really can’t comment on the extent of our statewide buy.” He also said he expects his side will be outspent.

A referendum on Senate Bill 5 will appear on the statewide ballot as Issue 2. A no vote is to reject the collective-bargaining reforms; a yes vote is to keep the changes.

SB 5 would outlaw strikes by public employees, institute a merit-pay system, allow management to impose its last offer on a three-year contract if the two sides reach impasse, require workers to pay at least 15 percent of their health-care premiums and 10 percent of their wages toward their pensions, mandate that seniority no longer be the sole factor in determining who gets laid off, and prohibit bargaining on issues such as grievances, promotions, and minimum-staffing rules.

Television stations are required to publicly disclose advertising buys for candidate campaigns but not for issue campaigns.

As a result, four stations opted not to reveal the buys while 17 stations voluntarily disclosed data to reporters.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who is backing We Are Ohio, said issue campaigns historically come down to television ads.

Although We Are Ohio has spent more so far, Redfern said he expects a great deal of corporate money will flow in to pay for a last-ditch push by Building a Better Ohio in this campaign.

Federal elections law allows 501(c)4 groups to collect unlimited, undisclosed donations as long as a majority is spent on their primary mission and not on electioneering.

Contributors: Columbus Dispatch reporter Alex Stuckey, Dayton Daily News reporter Joanne Huist Smith, Youngstown Vindicator politics writer David Skolnick, Plain Dealer reporter Henry Gomez, and Cincinnati Enquirer reporters Howard Wilkinson, John Kiesewetter, and Amanda Seitz.


1NoBS(2841 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Nice bit of free advertising for the pro-issue 2 side, there, Vindy. Slant much?

And, if Building A Better Ohio spent $741,000 and Make Ohio Great spent $441,000, then aren't the business/Republican factions spending $1,182,000 against the $1,920,000 "plunked down" by We Are Ohio in those select markets?

$5.4 million overall, versus $4 million overall, isn't a 5 - 2 split in my book.

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2fd6636(289 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

This means nothing!!! We know Pro SB5 are laying low, no big seceret! I am SOOOOO glad wkbn website is publishing the WHOLE oppressive, sub-servient bill for all to see. If anyone out there can figure out the whole thing, God, let me know what the hell it all means! There are so many loop holes that slant towards oppression towards police, fireman and teachers cant figure it out. But, if this passes, lawyers will be sure to profit because of all the pending law suits that it brings, and towns and citys will have to fend off the law suits with public dollars!vote no on 2!!!

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3jupiter(116 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

FD6636...the lawsuits are what is soooo funny about a bill designed to "save" money. I for one am looking forward to the comedy that ensues should SB5 pass: the blatant nepotism and cronyism that the Mahoning Valley is famous for will run rampant should SB5 pass. The resulting lawsuits will no doubt be John Kasich's true legacy...
Employers-please feel free to run wild should SB5 pass. As we have seen regarding such issues as residency, trampling on the rights of the "unconnected/unrelated" is a costly mistake. SB5 will embolden the powers that be into making similar, but more costly mistakes...

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4jasoninohio(119 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

There is a reason those not in favor of this bill are spending more money, they know they are in trouble. The silent majority of people, those who support this bill, will have their say on election day.

Vote Yes on 2!!

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5Cowboyfan(105 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

No wonder it looks like We are Ohio is spending more. Vindicator gave the Pro SB5 FREE advertising. This article will tell you what SB5 will outlaw but not what it will do to local jobs and economies. The wonderful Make Ohio Great is being asked to pull their new ad for using a Great-Grandmothers face without her permission and changing what she said from con to pro on the issue. She is calling for the article to be pulled. Nice try Make Ohio Great.

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6db(280 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

GTX, government union corruption that we taxpayers have been saddled with is why our taxes are so high. SB5/Issue 2 ends more than paid retirement in middle age, double dipping, and gold-plated benefit packages. Union members getting paid not to work is just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks for pointing out yet another taxpayer ripoff. Vote YES on Issue 2.

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7Shepard(3 comments)posted 4 years, 9 months ago

Of course its lopsided. Not to many people would go through the embarrassment of supporting SB5.

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