Archive for Election Corner

Three Conclusions from Recent Ohio Campaign Finance Filings

Primary Elections for statewide offices in Ohio are won by two things: connection with ideological voters likely to vote in low turnout off year Primary Elections and money. It is too early to determine where the ideological Democrats and Republicans will align between the candidates but recent campaign finance reports submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office indicate who is winning the money battle.

Monday, July 31, 2017 marked the filing deadline for semiannual reports illustrating fundraising activity since the state of the year. The semiannual reports, required to be filed for non-judicial candidates who did not file post-primary numbers in January, give the latest look at the candidates’ war chests with 10 months to go until the 2018 primaries. Three conclusions can be drawn from the recent Ohio campaign finance filings for those seeking a statewide office.

  1. Republicans seeking Ohio statewide offices hold a substantial lead over potential Democrat opponents. As the table above illustrates, Republicans while not holding any of the offices they are seeking hold a substantial fundraising lead against their Democratic counterparts. Three of the four Republicans seeking the Governor’s office have over $4M in bank while the leading Democrat seeking the office has just over $700,000. Now two of the leading Governor’s candidates are statewide elected officials themselves but the early money lead is substantial for Republican candidates seeking the Governor’s office as well as Secretary of State, Auditor, Treasurer and Attorney General. As an example, former Ohio Senate President and current State Representative Keith Faber has a 7 to 1 lead in fundraiser of over Democratic challenger, former Congressman Zach Space. State Auditor and Republican Attorney General candidate Dave Yost has a 2 to 1 fundraising lead over his Democratic opponent.
  2. Republican Primary Fundraising Leaders are Dewine, Husted, Renacci, LaRose and Sprague. Early results illustrate the strength of Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. Both Husted and Dewine have over $4M in the bank with Dewine raising the most funds at $4.6 M cash on hand. Congressman Jim Renacci has raised a low amount of money but loaned himself $4M just in time for the campaign finance filing so he has a similar amount in the bank. Dewine, like Congressman Renacci, has the ability to self-finance what is likely going to be a Governor’s race costing well over $20M. Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor is far behind the Husted and Dewine fundraising race with only $436,883. State Senator Frank LaRose is leading his Republican and fellow Ohio Secretary of State candidate State Representative Dorothy Pelanda by a 5 to 1 fundraising margin. Also, State Representative Robert Sprague of Findlay is leading his primary opponent Franklin County Auditor Clarence Mingo in fundraising and cash on hand by a 3 to 1 margin.
  3. Democratic Front Runner Betty Sutton Trailing in Fundraising. On paper, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton appears to be the most experienced candidate the Democrats have for their declared four candidates for Governor. However, Sutton is not leading the fundraising battle. Former Cincinnati area State Representative Connie Pillich is leading among the announced Democratic candidates for Governor with $720,525 in the bank. Sutton is behind not only Connie Pillich but also Democrats Senator Joe Schiavoni, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley who are also seeking the Governor’s job. Democratic Governor’s candidates fundraising efforts could be harmed by the questions about whether any of the current candidates will actually be the Democratic standard bearer. Former Ohio Attorney General and current Director Consumer Financial Protection in Washington DC Richard Cordray remains a focus for Democrats to return home and run for Governor. Even Cincinnati’s own Jerry Springer is rumored to be considering a run.

Mid-year campaign finance reports 10 months away from a Primary Election do not tell the tale of the Primary Election results but they do begin to create opportunities and obstacles for the winners and losers in the battle for fundraising dollars.

Ohio House Makes Dramatic Changes to Kasich Budget

The first movement in Governor Kasich’s $69B state operating budget came from leaders of the Ohio House of Representatives and the movement was a substantial.  Responding to the agreement to cut spending substantially as well as to address challenges with the Kasich budget, the Ohio House of Representatives passed House Bill 49 without Governor Kasich’s proposed tax plan and his income tax cut, made several changes impacting economic development, rolled back the proposed Medicaid expansion, made major improvements to higher education and added funding to K-12 education.

As expected, Governor Kasich’s tax plan was the first budget item to go.  The House adopted a completely new tax plan.  The House removed the proposed tax reform plan, including proposed changes to the following taxes: income, sales, severance, commercial activity, tobacco and vapor, and alcohol.  They also struck the centralized collection proposal that would have mandated municipal income tax be collected by the state of Ohio but allowed a business to file a single annual or estimated return through the Ohio Business Gateway which a business may report and pay the total tax due to all the municipalities in which the business earned net profits.  Changes to the Ohio Local Government Fund were also scrapped.

Substantial changes impacting economic development were made to House Bill 49.  The House authorized the job creation tax credit to count employees who work from home in the job creation totals, made changes to the motion picture tax credit to require that a project must have 50% of financing secured to be eligible, priority be given to television or miniseries projects, and the Director of the Development Services Agency to charge an application fee equal to 1% of the estimated credit or $10,000 whichever is less.  The House revised the current data call center sales and use tax exemption to allow the capital expenditure to occur over 6 years instead of 5, retained funding for the Incumbent Workforce Training program at $1.25 M per year, and increased spending for the Defense Development Assistance and Ohio Edison Centers.  The House also authorized a county or municipal government to extend a pre-1994 CRA without triggering the laws enacted in 1994, and elevated the threshold for competitive bidding for port authorities to $250,000.  The House changed House Bill 49 to permits local workforce investment boards to conduct meetings by video and teleconference, and continue the ability for a county or municipality to enter into an enterprise zone agreement after October 15, 2017.  The House extended through July 1, 2019 the ability to apply the state historic preservation tax credit to the commercial activities tax, and eliminates the requirement that a new community district be over 1000 acres.  Finally, the House directed the Governor’s Executive Workforce Board to include an analysis of jobs that pay 125% of the federal minimum wage in the methodology for in-demand jobs.

The House also made major changes to the state’s Medicaid program.  They created legislative guardrails around Group VII Medicaid spending by requiring the Kasich Administration to seek Controlling Board approval on a regular basis for the Medicaid expansion, increased nursing home spending, and limited total Medicaid spending on hospitals to $6.9 B per year, and removed the non-contracting language and requires rates in effect on January 1, 2017 to continue over the biennium.

The Ohio House made several substantive changes to the higher education portion of the budget including:

  • Flat funds the State Share of Instruction and Ohio College Opportunity Grant line items;
  • Removed the proposal on textbook costs and replaces it with a textbook study requirement for public universities and community colleges;
  • Continued funding for the Federal Research Network at $3.5 M per year;
  • Provided $5 M in FY’19 for financial assistance to obtain short-term certificates;
  • Permitted a Community College to increase tuition by $10 per credit hour;
  • Clarified that tuition caps do not apply to tuition guarantee programs and removes the restrictions on increases between cohorts;
  • Exempted health insurance, auxiliary goods and services, non-instructional program fees, licensure costs, fines, travel costs and elective service charges from the tuition freeze;
  • Allowed a Community College to offer an applied bachelor’s degree if the degree is not offered by a public or private university within 30 miles and defines “applied bachelors”;
  • Required the Chancellor to investigate fees charged by institutions, prohibits the charging of any fee and permits the Controlling Board may approve the fee;
  • Required that faculty who assign textbooks must file a financial disclosure statement;
  • Reduced all clinical teaching lines by 10% in FY’18 and collapses them into one line in FY’19; and
  • Provided $750,000 for Co-op/Internship programs and provides earmarks for the 9 university programs traditionally funded through this line for their public policy schools.

The House made substantial changes to the Governor’s K-12 education plan.  They actually increased spending by $80 M—making K-12 one of the few financial winners from the House version of the budget.  They also removed Kasich’s controversial proposals to require teachers to have a private sector internships and placing non-voting business leaders on local school boards.  While the House did add K-12 school funding, Governor Kasich’s revisions to the school funding guarantee that attempts to limit paying public school districts for students they do not have survived.

House Bill 49 now moves on to the Ohio Senate who has raised questions about many of the House changes and is likely to enact additional spending cuts and policy changes to the bill with passage expected to meet the July 1, 2017 fiscal year deadline.

Economics of Trumpland

Policy is directly impacted by elections—not just in who is sent to the White House, Congress, Statehouse, or City Hall. Elections provide insight into what policy makers need to address. The 2016 President Election provides substantial insight into the fact that two economic world’s exist—the have and the have nots. Donald Trump illustrated that he could tap into the frustrations of Republican, Independent and Democratic voters from communities that both Republicans and Democrats have taken for granted and, fortunately for Donald Trump, Midwest Industrial states such as Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin put him over the top on the backs of the “have not” communities.

“Trumpland” is communities left behind as the Industrial Revolution fads into the Information Age. Trumpland in Ohio can found in the 43 counties that provided a 25% or higher vote margin for Donald Trump over the 2012 campaign of Republican Mitt Romney. In the 2012 election, these 43 Ohio Counties gave Romney an average margin of victory of 11%. In 2016, Trump won these same counties by an average margin of 42%. This is an unprecedented shift to the Republicans and potentially provides a transformation that could eliminate the New Deal Coalition that Democrats have counted on since the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Trumpland was born through the economic chaos of industrial decline. The common strand most of these 43 Ohio counties have is that they are primarily rural but many of these communities once had a thriving industrial base that is for the most part missing. As the chart above illustrates, the manufacturing jobs that have declined nationally by 5% since 2001 have disappeared in the counties that gave Trump the largest margin of victory compared to Romney. In fact, Monroe County, Ohio gave Trump its largest margin of victory relative to Romney has literally moved from having almost 60% of its jobs in manufacturing and now has less than 2%.

Since 2010, Trumpland’s population declined at an average of 1.77%, with the largest population declines coming in the Southeastern and Northwestern portion of the State. In addition, the median household income in these areas stagnated at an average of $41,107 and the poverty level rose to an average of 13.9%, which is higher than that of the United States. More troubling, Ohio’s Trumpland lags substantially in the number of college graduates which makes the attraction of technology and white collar advanced service jobs nearly impossible as they lack the workforce for these high wage industries.

A review of the Ohio counties in which Trump underperformed Romney also illustrates how regions with a strong economic performance in the post-industrial age also did not respond to Trump’s call for votes. Delaware County underperformed for Trump more than any other Ohio county compared to Romney’s 2012 performance. Trump gained 7% less than Romney in the growing Central Ohio ex-ubran Delaware County. Trumpland didn’t reach Delaware County because the voters in this area are enjoying substantial economic success. Delaware County has a rapidly growing population as well as a poverty level of 3.1%. As Delaware County became more prosperous it began to attract highly educated people from declining population centers, which contributed to nearly one third of its population having a bachelor’s degree. Prosperous Delaware County was not inspired by the Trump narrative. While Trump still won the county, it was at a much lower margin than areas– many of which have not been considered Republican in the past.

The economics of Trumpland is clear. These former industrial regions are increasingly depressed economically and are continually losing population. The people in these areas generally grew up with the idea that the factories and industry that created an economic boom would always be there to provide jobs and a steady income. As these companies began to ship the jobs overseas and technology increased productivity and reduced manufacturing jobs, this way of life began to disappear in front of their eyes. Trump tapped into this frustration and rallied the people with the notion of reshoring factory jobs and restoring the traditional Rust Belt way of life, which in turn propelled him to the presidency.

Kasich K-12 Education Agenda Continues Status Quo

Governor Kasich’s Primary and Secondary Education spending totals $11.2 B in FY 2018, a 1.2% increase from fiscal year 2017, and $11.4 B in FY 2019, a 1.4% increase from fiscal year 2018 serving the 612 public school districts, 49 joint vocational school districts, 52 educational service centers, and 362 community schools.

Kasich K-12 Budget Proposal Highlights

Formula Amount The bill maintains the formula amount from FY 2017 ($6,000) for both FY 2018 and FY 2019 that will serve as the district base payment from the state.
Targeted Assistance The bill maintains the calculation of targeted assistance funding, which is based on a district’s value and income, to provide additional support to low wealth areas.
Special Ed Funding The bill maintains the dollar amounts for the six categories of special education services from FY 2017 for both FY 2018 and FY 2019.
Community Schools Facility Funding Community Schools receive facilities funding equal to $25 for each student in an internet- or computer-based community school and $200 in each fiscal year for each full-time equivalent pupil in all other community or STEM schools.
Gifted Student Funding The bill maintains the dollar amount in current law for gifted identification funding for both FY 2018 and FY 2019 paid to city, local, and exempted village school districts.
Third Grade Reading Bonus The bill maintains the “third grade reading bonus” to city, local, STEM and exempted village school district and community schools for passage of third grade reading test.
School Financing Transport funding a multiplier of the greater of 37.5% and 25% or the district’s SSI (for FY 2018, 19), imposes a 5% state funding growth cap, moves the funding guarantee to 95% if district’s loses more than 10% of students and a sliding scale reduction if enrollment drops from 5-10%, and keeps the Straight A Program.
Integrated Course Content Public and chartered nonpublic schools can integrate academic content in subject areas and allows a student to receive credit for both subject areas integrated into one course.
Subject Area Competency Requires a regulatory framework for academic credit to be granted for student’s work-based learning experiences.
State Tests Begins requiring the phased in release of state achievement test questions

Listen and Learn: 5 Steps to Make America Great Again

Making American Great Again in Five Steps

Donald Trump’s surprise victory was driven in large part with a frustration that Washington is not doing its part to improve the American economy. As the Trump campaign noted, the growth in any nation’s gross domestic product is driven by four factors: consumption growth, the growth in government spending, investment growth, and net exports. By most measures, the growth of the American economy in the last 15 years has slowed substantially compared to the Post World War II Era. In part, the slowdown in the American economy is connected to deindustrialization—only 10% of American jobs are in manufacturing compared to 15% in 2001 and over 30% in the 1970s. America is losing high-wage manufacturing jobs and many regions have not found a worthy substitute for these lost jobs.

Reviving the American economy in many ways depends on recharging the Great Lakes region. Southern states have experienced much stronger economic growth than Great Lakes states over the past quarter century. Faster population and market growth, greater business investment, and greater Federal spending have accelerated this growth in the South. Trump’s victory was clinched by the Industrial Great Lakes as he captured the growing frustration that Washington D.C. is hurting not helping the manufacturing heavy Great Lakes States. The economic facts illustrate a steep decline in high-wage manufacturing jobs in the key battleground states of Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. These four key battleground states have lost 855,025 manufacturing jobs from 2001 to 2015.


As the chart above illustrates, the United States and the Great Lakes region have seen their share of its manufacturing economy decline steeply over the past decade and a half. Donald Trump’s promise to “make America great again” really hinges on redeveloping the Industrial Great Lakes.

However, reviving the Great Lakes economy cannot be done by developing more manufacturing jobs alone—building a more diverse and globally competitive regional economy is essential. Revitalizing the Great Lakes economy needs to center on developing high-wage jobs and capital investment in advanced services such as financial services and healthcare, high-technology such as information technology and bio-tech, global firms through foreign direct investment and exports, energy-led economic development, and manufacturing. These are the industries producing the high-wage jobs that can create a stronger, diversified American economy.

In five strategic steps, we can make American great again!

1. Reduce Corporate Taxes and Reward Domestic Investment.
The federal government operates a $4 trillion-dollar budget, funded primarily by income taxes on individuals and businesses.

The topic of tax reform often focuses primarily on tax rates, and not shifting what we tax. The Trump Tax Plan is focused on reducing the U.S. tax on corporate profits for all companies from an industrial world high of 35% to 15%, but companies would no longer be able to defer taxes on overseas profits, and he would cap business interest deductions and charge a 10 percent repatriation tax for overseas earnings. Reducing corporate tax rates paid by large and small companies alike and driving global investments back into the United States are good economic development policies.

Big Tax Idea. The federal government can learn a lesson from its state government partners about how high-wage job production is spurred when companies receive tax incentives. All fifty states provide tax credits, abatements, grants and/or loans to companies that agree to create jobs and make capital investments. A federal job creation tax credit could provide a similar incentive to companies choosing to invest in the United States and create high-wage jobs.


2. Build a Budget that Addresses the Infrastructure & Workforce Gap. The federal government operates primarily a social service agency. As the chart below illustrates, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other social service programs dominate the federal budget. While the American economy is likely too big for the federal government to influence through its government programs, federal government programs can have a major impact on regional economic development. Two areas that need attention include federal government spending for infrastructure and workforce programs.


Private sector leaders considering business expansion need the infrastructure in place at the site and skilled workers ready to work. Yet, these top business issues constitute a very small portion of the federal budget. The United States today invests in infrastructure about half of what it did at the beginning of the 1980s, and economic development projects that need roads, water, sewer, environmental contamination, power and other critical infrastructure are needed the federal government to fill the infrastructure funding gap. Donald Trump $1 trillion infrastructure proposal would be a catalyst for greater private sector investment. It is important that this massive new federal infrastructure program not just fund highways, roads, and bridges but also create a site development program that provides funding for infrastructure, including the delivery of power, to sites planned for development.

Big Infrastructure Idea. The federal government could create a program to set up mega sites prepared for development similar to Tennessee’s to develop large-scale sites ready for high-wage job development in partnership with private sector developers. This program could create a large funding stream to prepare for large scale developments at rural and urban sties to recruit a range of industries including manufacturing. The Tennessee Mega Site Program has lured several global auto manufacturers to the Volunteer State and served as a major driver of high-wage job creation

Addressing the workforce challenge is another critical piece in the Make American Great strategy. The federal government’s 47 workforce development programs have too little money and the sheer number of them illustrates their lack of focus on developing high-wage jobs. More importantly, trillions in welfare spending needs to shift the workforce development focus from the welfare recipient to the companies searching for workers.

Big Workforce Idea. The federal government should create one workforce development program and shift the funding to the states to operate their own workforce development program that funds employers who train their existing and new workers. North Carolina has a workforce training program that prepares workers in targeted industries, such as bio-manufacturing, to be certified and prepared for work with companies in those industries. This permits North Carolina to recruit global companies with the promise of workers ready to work in their industry.


3. Capitalize on All Sources of Energy. No sector illustrates current or future economic growth capacity more than the energy sector. Too often, Washington has made energy an ideological issue picking winners and losers among sources of energy. From small towns in South Dakota to the Appalachian Hills of Ohio and Pennsylvania to sundrenched Arizona and rainy Oregon, energy is a leading source of growth. The Make America Great strategy needs to embrace all sources of energy as needed and help regions and communities capitalize on whatever source of energy they possess. As the chart above illustrates, America has a diversified pool of energy sources. Natural gas and renewable energy has grown in recent years with increased domestic production driving down the costs for American consumers.


Federal regulatory policies attacking domestic energy sources such as coal cause substantial economic harm and should be stopped. For too long, the federal government has been driven by energy ideology. Federal environmental regulation has been designed recently to benefit certain sources of energy over others. American industry cannot run without a reliable and affordable source of energy. However, American energy policy ending the war on coal is not enough. Market realities make the short term domestic use of coal unlikely—shale developments have driven the price of natural gas to amazing lows.

Big Energy Idea. The federal government should be in the business of encouraging that energy production and distribution growth but also supporting the development of critical infrastructure needed to connect those energy sources to energy intensive businesses looking for power access. It should be the national energy policy to develop an energy-led economic development strategy using all sources of domestic energy focused on retaining and attracting energy intensive industries such as steel, chemical, paper, aluminum, data centers and others to the source of electricity or natural gas. Too often in many deregulated utility marketplaces, energy intensive businesses struggle to gain access to power because the utility companies lack a funding guarantee. A large portion of the federal government infrastructure program should provide funding to build the “last mile” of energy infrastructure to enable high-wage job creation. Federal matching funds could provide support for the last mile of energy pipeline and transmission line connections to energy intensive industries.


4. Address the Health Care Challenge. Few topics have as much political energy as does the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Trump healthcare plan not only calls for the repeal of Obamacare but calls for legislation to give tax credits to the uninsured to pay for health insurance, allow insurance companies to sell health insurance across state lines, and allow people to deduct the cost of their premiums from their taxes. Trump has also proposed transforming the federal-state Medicaid program for the poor by giving block grants to the states, which would have flexibility to develop their own programs.

The direction of federal health care policy may also be driven in large part by the thinking of U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan. Speaker Ryan proposed a comprehensive health care reform initiative rejected by the Obama Administration that could well reappear. Ryan’s health care plan in part proposes to make health insurance portable and sales open across state lines, create a tax credit to support health insurance purchases by the uninsured, enhance health care pooling, reward employees for healthy choices, continue tort reform, mandate coverage for pre-existing conditions and permit young adults up to 26 years old to remain on their parents health insurance, and block grants funding for Medicaid to the states to permit them to determine how best this program should cover their citizens.

Big Health Care Idea. Federal funding for Medicaid needs to be turned into a block grant program for the states and states must be given the leeway to operate the health care program for the poor as they wish. A healthy population is a productive population and states need the flexibility with Medicaid funding to address this issue.


5. Build a High-Tech Midwest Economy. Donald Trump tapped into voter unrest about the underlying struggle of an economy that has been losing high-wage manufacturing jobs since the 1970s. The Industrial Great Lakes reflects this struggle. While regions such as Columbus, Indianapolis and Chicago grow as centers for highly educated, advanced services centers, too many other regions who were once industrial leaders in big towns and small are struggling. The Trump campaign recognized this challenge and pointed out that manufacturing as a percent of the labor force has steadily fallen from a peak of 22% in 1977 to about 8% today while competitors such as Germany and Japan still have 20% and 17% respectively of their workforce engaged in manufacturing. Furthermore, Trump identified further challenges with current trade policy in that Trade policy factors identified by the Trump that permitted currency manipulation, the equally widespread use of mercantilist trade practices by key US trading partners, and poorly negotiated trade deals that have insured the US has not shared equally in the “gains from trade” promised by textbook economic theory.

To address the trade challenge, Donald Trump became the most anti-free-trade GOP candidate since World War II. Trump advocated canceling the United States’ trade agreements if countries do not agree to renegotiate them, applying a 35% tariff on Mexican goods and a 45% percent tariff on Chinese goods and he opposes the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Trump also advocated major tax reform changes to make America a more attractive market. Donald Trump’s economic plan also promises to dramatically reduce the regulation on business and the financial services sector to spur economic growth, cut taxes and spend big money on infrastructure.

However, addressing trade issues to increase America’s manufacturing sector back up 20% alone will not solve the economic dilemma of the Industrial Great Lakes. America has the most productive manufacturing workforce in the world and it only takes 170 people to manufacturing what it took 1000 in 1950. Lima, Ohio offers an illustration. Lima actually has 26% of its residents working in manufacturing but negative population growth, a vastly lower homeownership rate, median home value, bachelor degree attainment rate, and median household income but a poverty rate almost three times the national average as the chart below illustrates.


What Lima and many former industrial regions lack is a large quantity of skilled and college educated workers primed to succeed in the advanced services and high-tech jobs driving growth in neighboring Findlay and other successful small towns.

Big High-Tech Ideas. The Trump economic agenda needs to focus on diversifying the Great Lakes’ economy through the creation of high-tech jobs. First, these high-wage industries need skilled labor with a college degree. The Trump economic agenda needs to increase the number of skilled workers but also the college educated workers in the critical Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields that are high demand and produce higher wages. The creation of these STEM workers begins by addressing the crisis in America’s urban schools through funding to high-performing charter schools and promotion of shared services among America’s schools. Next, the federal government needs to shift funding priorities to encourage students to enter these STEM fields that the nation desperately needs.

However, support for STEM workers is not enough to transform the Midwest economy into a high-tech Mecca. Global Innovation Centers need to be created by the federal government through public-private-partnerships with states, regions and private companies to accelerate broadband services, create venture capital pools and provide funding for critical equipment at incubators, accelerators & research parks that spur technology commercialization. Ohio’s Third Frontier Program offers a strong national model for how the federal government can turn research into early-stage company startups as well as support larger scale research institutions such as the Cleveland Clinic to create products and services in growing markets.


The Trump Agenda is an opportunity for the transformation of the American economy by.

  1. Making tax reform a reality by rewarding domestic investments;
  2. Addressing the infrastructure and workforce gaps through smart budget decisions that devote public and private capital into these two critical areas.
  3. Implementing a national energy policy focused on all sources of energy focused on retaining and attracting energy intensive companies;
  4. Fixing the health care system without killing what is working; and
  5. Bringing the benefits of the tech sector to all parts of the U.S.

How this gets done is another matter. The Trump Agenda is clearly being hashed out all over the United States. Three clear steps exist to move this agenda forward:

  1. What are now bullet points on a Trump Agenda website need to be transformed into substantial policy proposals with the development of policy papers, budget and policy proposals and ultimately legislation.
  2. The leaders of the Great Lakes, both public and private, should gather to reach consensus on how the Trump Agenda can transform their economy based upon these policy proposals; and
  3. Driven at the local level, economic development, public policy and private sector leaders of the Great Lakes region need to connect with the Trump Transition Team, lead on domestic issues by Ohio’s own Ken Blackwell, to support the Trump Agenda and promote dramatic change in Washington’s economic development policy that returns manufacturing to its previous glory but also supports the growth of energy, advanced services, global firms and high-tech industries.


Republicans Dominate Ohio Election: Age of Trump Begins

In what many have widely considered to be the most unusual Presidential election in recent memory, Donald Trump was elected to be this country’s 45th President by prevailing over Hillary Clinton in what many are considering to be an upset. In the final days leading up to the election, most pundits believed Clinton held the edge over Trump. But Trump was swept into office by taking swing such as Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania and North Carolina. This election saw wide swings in polling numbers throughout the final weeks and months leading up to the election, and the day after, is being considered to be one of the most historical Presidential elections because of its unusual nature, and because of the unpopularity of both candidates.

Trump defeated Clinton with 9 point margin when most polls had the race at a dead heat. Trump racked up large victories in rural Ohio counties such as gaining 79% in Auglaize, 75 % in Brown, 76 % in Gallia, and 81 % in Mercer and Trump outperformed 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney in 83 of 88 counties. Clinton won only seven counties, including Franklin, with 61%. Most importantly, Ohio’s seven urban counties simply did not deliver a victory for Clinton as anticipated. Clinton gained 185,009 fewer votes than Obama in 2012 while Trump gained just 150,103 fewer votes than Romney in Ohio’s large urban counties. Predictions that suburban voters would leave Trump did not meet expectations. Also, the urban centers and their suburbs simply didn’t support Clinton at the rate they did Obama—even with Donald Trump as the alternative.

What can be the cause of this Trump victory? It is easy to point fingers at the weakness of the Clinton candidacy but the victory is much more than that. Ohio, like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Hampshire and Minnesota has lost a substantial number of manufacturing jobs. Since 2001, Ohio’s share of manufacturing jobs in its economy has dropped from 20.04% of its economy to 15.07% for a total manufacturing job loss of 269,784. There are lots of reasons for this manufacturing job loss but its impact on the working class who for 100 years depended upon these high wage jobs is substantial. Trump’s victory across the Industrial Midwest clearly illustrates the frustration of working class voters in urban and rural communities.

Nothing changed with Ohio’s Congressional Districts. With respect to Federal races, the U.S. House of Representatives remained solidly in Republican hands, despite some small gains by Democrats. In Ohio, all Congressional incumbents were successfully re-elected, meaning of the 16 Ohio House seats, 12 remain in Republican hands. The U.S. Senate likewise remained in Republican control albeit by a slimmer margin due to some Democrat gains. But this result is considered a good one by Republicans, whose majority in the Senate was thought to be in peril in the months leading up to the election. Notably, incumbent Ohio Republican Senator Rob Portman easily defeated a challenge by former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland.

The Statehouse Republicans somehow gained even more seats than they had before. Going into election day, the Ohio legislature was controlled in both the House and Senate by significant Republican majorities, with Republicans controlling the House by a 65-34 majority, and the Senate by a 23-10 majority. Yesterday’s results saw small increases in those Republican majorities. In the House, Republicans picked up the 94th House District being vacated by term limited Democrat Debbie Phillips, when Frank Hoagland defeated Democrat Sara Grace. The Republican majority in the House is now 66-33. Also of note, former House Speaker Larry Householder was elected to represent House District 72, and current and term limited Senate President Keith Faber was elected to represent House District 84, marking the first time a former House Speaker and a former Senate President will serve in a legislative Chamber at the same time in non-leadership positions.

In the Senate, Republicans picked up a seat when incumbent Democrat Senator Lou Gentile was defeated by Republican challenger and former Navy SEAL Frank Hoagland in the 30th Senate District in southeast Ohio. This seat has long been the a target for Senate Republicans, and this year, on the coat tails of a strong showing by Republican Presidential nominee Trump in southeast Ohio, they wrested the seat from Democrat hands. Thus, Republicans will hold a 24-9 majority going into the next General Assembly.

The following state legislative races were considered to be competitive going into election day, and there resells are noted here:

  • Current State Representative Republican Stephanie Kunze was elected to replace term limited Republican State Senator Jim Hughes in the 16th Ohio Senate District, which encompasses parts of western Franklin County. Kunze defeated Democrat Cathy Johnson of Grove City.
  • Current State Senator Republican Jim Hughes, whose Senate tenure is term limited, was elected to Ohio’s 24th House District, which encompasses western suburbs of Franklin County. Hughes defeated Democrat challenger Kris Keller
  • In the race to replace term limited Republican Cheryl Grossman in Ohio House District 23, Grove City Councilwoman Laura Lanese beat back a challenge from Lee Schreiner, a retired Grove City teacher. District 23 includes much of southwestern Franklin County.
  • In the race for Ohio House District 3 in northwest Ohio, incumbent Theresa Gavarone held off a challenge from Bowling Green City Councilman Kelly Wicks.
  • In the race for Ohio House District 16, a seat currently held by term limited Republican Nan Baker, Republican David Greenspan defeated Democrat Tommy Greene.
  • In the race for Ohio House District 89 in Ottawa and Erie Counties in northwest Ohio, incumbent republican Steve Arndt held off a challenge from Democrat Ottawa County Auditor Lawrence Hartlaub.
  • In the race for Ohio House District 37 in Summit County, incumbent Republican Kristina Roegner defeated Democrat challenger Casey Weinstein, a Hudson city councilman.
  • In the race for Ohio House District 28 in Hamilton County, incumbent Republican Jonathan Dever defeated Democrat challenger Jessica Miranda, an insurance broker.
  • In the race for Ohio House District 95 in eastern Ohio, incumbent Republican Andy Thompson defeated Democrat challenger Ginny Favede.

In the two Ohio Supreme Court races, the Republican candidates prevailed as well, with Pat DeWine defeating Cynthia Rice, and Pat Fischer defeating John O’Donnell.

The 2016 Election will clearly be one of the more memorable in history and could see a sea change in the Electoral Map not seen since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 election which signaled the New Deal Coalition of Franklin Roosevelt was over. Ohio illustrates this major change in the electoral and should serve as a call to policy makers to address the economic loss of the manufacturing sector.