Despite Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras’ contention that the local vote in the November 2010 election was higher than the state average, the fact remains that Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland would have won re-election had the turnout in this predominantly Democratic region surpassed 50 percent. Strickland lost to Republican John Kasich by a sliver.
That victory by Kasich, along with a sweep of all other statewide offices by Republicans, have given rise to a right-wing legislative agenda, led by Senate Bill 5, the collective bargaining reform law. Ohio voters will decide Tuesday whether the law should take effect, or whether it should be overturned.
Because SB 5 targets Ohio’s 300,000-plus public employees, the unions on a state and national level have joined with state Democrats in opposing the new law. But, as in the November 2010 election, Tuesday will be about turnout.
The absentee balloting in this area indicates that the polls will be busy, but Chairman Betras must know that he will be judged on the numbers, as will the chairmen in Trumbull and Columbiana counties, Dan Polivka and Denny Johnson.
The Ohio Democratic Party expects heavily Democratic regions to come out in force election day. They didn’t a year ago, and the Republicans have been riding roughshod over them since then.
Will Tuesday be a replay of November 2010, or will the Democrats send a message to Kasich and company that dictatorial governance will not be tolerated?