Mahoning County Treasurer John Reardon, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for state auditor, says Congressman Ted Strickland, who is running for governor this year, has made an "unfortunate political mistake" in endorsing state Rep. Barbara Sykes of Akron in auditor's race.
Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairwoman Lisa Antonini says she is "terribly disappointed" that Strikland, D-Lisbon, not came out for Sykes, but failed to give Reardon a heads up.
Trumbull County Democratic Party Chairman Christ Michelakis also expressed surprise and disappointment with the congressman's decision.
The word from the Strickland camp is that he felt Sykes was more qualified, had run statewide and as a black woman would provide the Democratic ticket with the diversity that is necessary in this year's election.
But the timing of the endorsement is just too juicy to ignore. It came in the midst of the rumors sweeping the area about Reardon's martial problem. Divorce is no longer the political baggage it used to be, but a messy divorce is and that's what has made the telephone lines sizzle. Talk about a police report and threat of a press conference has Reardon in his enemies' gun sights.
It is no surprise, therefore, that Strickland, an ordained minister, would be reluctant to embrace the county treasurer. After all, he can legitimately challenge Republicans on the "family values" issue and if Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell is the GOP nominee for governor, there is no doubt what issues will stressed. Just look at how George W. Bush carried Ohio and it is a safe bet that Blackwell will be replicating that presidential campaign.
It's one thing for Reardon to deal with his personal life on the campaign trail. It's quiet another for the expected Democratic standardbearer, Strickland, to have to spend time explaining his endorsement of someone who apparently doesn't share his values.
Given all the problems confronting Ohio, it seems a waste of time to be focusing on "family values," but Republicans see it as the only winner for them, so they aren't about to drop the issue.