Ryan avoids slings, arrows

On the side

Worst liberal: U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s campaign emails can be entertaining. With the NCAA basketball tournament underway, his campaign sent an email linking to a National Republican Congressional Committee website in which people could vote for worst liberal with seedings for various Democrats. And while your at it, Johnson, a Republican from Marietta, requests supporters “help me score a three-pointer today” by donating $3 to his campaign.

Amusing voicemail: Matthew Smith, a Democratic candidate for Youngstown mayor, left me an amusing voicemail earlier this week. Toward the end of the message, Smith wanted to leave me his telephone number, but he completely blanked on it. He called to someone in the house and asked for the number. She gave him the area code which he then left on the voice mail. This went on with the exchange and then the final four numbers.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan made the right decision not running for governor in next year’s election.

Ryan of Niles, D-13th, made the announcement, which didn’t come as a surprise to political observers, last week.

While Ryan was confident he could beat incumbent Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, it would be an uphill battle for the Democrat, any Democrat.

The potential Democratic ticket for the state’s executive seats — governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer — doesn’t look strong at this point.

It looked pretty good in 2010 and the Republicans still swept all five races in a great year for the GOP.

Ryan got his start in politics with an unlikely win in 2000 for a state Senate seat followed two years later by a surprisingly solid victory in the Democratic primary for the U.S. House position held by Thomas Sawyer of Akron, a long-tenured congressman.

There was nothing to lose for the political newcomer in 2000, and Ryan ran safe for the congressional seat in 2002. Had he lost, Ryan would have still been a state senator for another two years.

But U.S. House members have to run for re-election every two years. That would mean Ryan would have to give up his congressional seat for the gubernatorial race.

It would also mean giving up his prized seat on the House Appropriations Committee.

Ryan spent four years on the powerful committee until he lost it in January 2011 when Republicans took control of the House.

Ryan returned to the committee in January because enough of those with more seniority on Appropriations either retired or lost re-election bids, opening up a secure seat for him.

When that became apparent in December, Ryan was overjoyed with his inevitable return.

It also made a run for governor highly unlikely. Ryan still considered it before official saying last week that he would stay in Congress.

Had Ryan run for governor, he would have been the target of an all-out assault of negative ads.

The Ohio Republican Party tipped its hand when party Chairman Bob Bennett issued a press release on Dec. 6 calling on Ryan to “provide a credible explanation” about being charged on Aug. 25 with public intoxication in Lexington, Va.

A judge dismissed the charge on Dec. 4. Ryan called the citation “garbage,” saying he “was walking strange because of throwing out my back.”

Republicans would have also resurrected Ryan being arrested three times for disorderly conduct while a student at Bowling Green State University. He was found guilty of one charge in 1993 for having a fake ID while being 19 years old with the others dismissed.

Look at what the ORP is doing to Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald, a likely Democratic gubernatorial candidate.

The party established a simple-looking anti-FitzGerald website, referring to him as Public Official 14, what he was called in an indictment of a former Cuyahoga County commissioner in a major political corruption scandal there.

Not only have no charges been filed against FitzGerald, but the main federal prosecutor in that investigation made a rare statement that FitzGerald was not being investigated. But the ORP isn’t letting it go.

Not to be outdone, with Matt Borges poised to be the next ORP chairman, the Ohio Democratic Party “launched” MattBorges.com “to shine light on [his] criminal past.”

The entire website is a link to a nearly nine-year-old article on The Cincinnati Enquirer’s website about Borges pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of improper use of public office. His conviction was expunged in 2009.

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