Ohio Political News Briefs


Staff and Wire Reports



FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2011, file photo, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, center, holds a shotgun surrendered during a September 2011 gun buy-back event organized by the city of Cleveland and steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, before tossing the shotgun into a furnace at an ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

FILE - In this Oct. 20, 2011, file photo, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, center, holds a shotgun surrendered during a September 2011 gun buy-back event organized by the city of Cleveland and steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, before tossing the shotgun into a furnace at an ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)


FILE - In this April 27, 2016, file photo, Ohio state Attorney General Mike DeWine, right, alongside Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, left, speaks to reporters about the unsolved killings of seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family whose bodies were found at four homes near Piketon, Ohio, on April 22, 2016, during a news conference in Waverly, Ohio. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)


FILE - In this July 7, 2017, file photo, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who announced her entry into the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race that day, speaks before a gathering of Republicans at the City Club of Cleveland in Cleveland. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Dake Kang, File)


COLUMBUS — Ohio’s Republican governor says now is the time for “common sense” on gun control, after years of touting his gun ownership rights credentials.

John Kasich says there needs to be leadership on the issue from the White House and in what he calls the “dysfunctional” Congress in the aftermath of the deadly school shooting last week in Parkland, Florida. Karen Kasler of Ohio Public Radio/TV reported after Kasich’s comments in a Sunday (Feb. 18) interview on CNN that his political web site’s section called “Defending the Second Amendment” had been removed.

On Monday, the campaign site for the frequent critic of President Donald Trump headlined his positions as “Common Sense on the Second Amendment.” While noting he has signed multiple bills to protect gun rights, the site says Kasich sees the need for “common-sense solutions.” They include potentially expanding background checks for gun sales and limiting the ability to sell the kinds of weapons often used in mass killings, such as the AR-15 rifle used in Parkland.

John Weaver, a strategist for Kasich’s 2016 presidential campaign, said on Twitter that Kasich’s views “have evolved,” like many, if not most, Americans’.

“We want our leaders to be unafraid to observe, listen & learn,” Weaver wrote.

The johnkasich.com site calls the Second Amendment “one of the most divisive issues in our country. Leadership requires the willingness to tackle these issues and to find solutions.” His campaigns have pointed out his pro-National Rifle Association record and the group’s 2014 endorsement of his re-election campaign.

“I believe those who are Second Amendment advocates realize that common-sense, real reforms can happen in this country to answer the critics and the anguish of people all across the country who have lost loved ones,” Kasich said Sunday on CNN.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said he was glad to see Kasich speaking out nationally on guns, and hopes he will work with the state Legislature to find solutions and roll back past gun legislation.

Gun stances of Ohio governor candidates run the gamut

By JULIE CARR SMYTH

Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Want a governor who’s all-in on gun rights? How about one who’s fighting for a complete statewide ban on assault-type weapons?

In politically diverse Ohio, voters have their pick of those positions — and just about everything in between — from a crowded field of contenders trying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich.

Following dramatic calls for action that followed a shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, last week that left 17 people dead, Republican Lt. Gov. and gubernatorial candidate Mary Taylor reasserted her support for the Second Amendment and called for more “trained, law-abiding citizens to carry a gun on campus.”

As Taylor runs to the right of Republican rival Attorney General Mike DeWine, Democratic gubernatorial contender Dennis Kucinich is going the opposite way.

The former Cleveland mayor and congressman fired up supporters at a Monday anti-gun rally in Cleveland by calling for a complete ban on assault-type weapons across Ohio. He accompanied his demands with a model resolution that local governments can use to urge Ohio’s Republican-controlled General Assembly to pass such a ban. Two Democrats introduced the bill Tuesday.

“I believe that we are at a tipping point, that the public awareness of the danger of these assault weapons is so powerful, that no matter who is in office, or who aspires to office, this event in Parkland has created a sea change in the way we’re approaching this issue where people are becoming motivated and activated because they realize that all our lives are on the line here,” Kucinich said.

Somewhere in the middle are DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray, the former federal consumer protection chief.

DeWine responded to the Florida massacre with a three-point plan centered on beefing up children’s safety, while supporting no new gun laws.

The DeWine plan calls for one mental health professional in every school, more robust use of Ohio’s background check system and insistence that Ohio’s existing center for strategic analysis of threats use “every current and emerging technology to analyze, investigate, and intercept any threats to Ohio children and schools.”

“We must protect our children at all times — especially in school,” he said. “These are tangible efforts that will help ensure that our kids get the help and protection they need.”

At a breakfast for prosecutors held in Canton on Tuesday, Cordray also supported expanded background checks and increased support for school safety measures. He said he would fight for a statewide ban on the sale of bump stocks, which allow semi-automatic rifles to mimic the rapid fire of machine guns. Cordray also said he would create local gun trafficking task forces and appoint a “gun violence prevention czar” if elected.

“Throughout my career in public office, I have supported responsible gun ownership by law-abiding citizens and I continue to do so in accord with the Second Amendment,” Cordray said. “But as a supporter of responsible gun ownership, I believe we must strongly enforce existing laws, take steps to ensure these laws are not being circumvented, and take further steps to make sure these guns don’t get into the wrong hands and are not being enhanced to engage in mass killings.”

Kucinich questioned Cordray for failing to support an all-out ban on assault-style weapons, which appears to be gaining ground nationally.

He labeled Cordray “singularly responsible” for stripping local communities of their ability to ban assault weapons. Kucinich was referring to Cordray’s role, as Ohio’s attorney general, in defending the state in a lawsuit by Cleveland challenging a state law prohibiting local assault weapons bans.

Cordray and Kucinich are among several other Democratic governor candidates, including Youngstown-area state Sen. Joe Schiavoni and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill.

On Wednesday, O’Neill proposed a mandatory permitting process for all assault-type weapons that would require gun owners to report in person to law enforcement with their weapons once a year.

Schiavoni said he is re-introducing school safety legislation that twice failed to gain traction in Ohio’s Republican-controlled state Legislature. He said he’s also holding meetings with firearms experts and others to explore additional bills addressing background checks, access to firearms for those with mental illness and limits on the sale of AR-15 style assault weapons.

Follow Julie Carr Smyth on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/jcarrsmyth

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine Announces Completion of Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative

BCI Scientists Tested Rape Kits Associated with 13,931 Sexual Assaults from 1971 – 2014

COLUMBUS – Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today (Feb. 23) that his special initiative to test evidence from thousands of once-forgotten rape kits is complete.

Forensic scientists with the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) have now analyzed all 13,931 rape kits submitted by local law enforcement for DNA testing as part of Attorney General DeWine’s Sexual Assault Kit (SAK) Testing Initiative. A total of 8,648 DNA profiles have been uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) as a result of the testing, and 5,024 matches to offender DNA and/or DNA collected from the scenes of other crimes have occurred to-date. Charges have been filed against hundreds of attackers.

“The testing of these nearly 14,000 kits has changed the culture surrounding rape investigations in Ohio,” said Attorney General DeWine. “The culture today is that every single rape kit needs to be tested. Because of the spotlight on these cases and the results that have followed, the value of testing these kits has been accepted. When agencies submit kits for testing without delay, suspects can be identified faster, future attacks can be prevented, and other crimes can be solved.”

After learning about the accumulation of untested rape kits in 2011, Attorney General DeWine formed a commission to study the problem. The group determined that any kit associated with a crime should be submitted to a crime laboratory for DNA testing in an effort to identify offenders and ensure that DNA potentially relevant to future investigations is included in the CODIS database. Attorney General DeWine requested that local law enforcement voluntarily submit any unanalyzed kits to BCI for forensic testing at no cost to them, and between 2011 and 2016, 294 law enforcement agencies from 75 counties submitted previously untested rape kits connected to 13,931 crimes for analysis. To handle the increased workload, Attorney General DeWine expanded BCI’s forensic science division by 10 new positions to help analyze the kits without slowing down the testing of current casework.

The nearly 14,000 sexual assault kits submitted as part of the initiative were connected to attacks that occurred between 1971 and 2014. The Cleveland Police Department submitted the largest number of kits (4,418), followed by the Toledo Police Department (1,802), Akron Police Department (1,432), Columbus Police Department (482), Springfield Police Department (367), and Cincinnati Police Department (338).

A full list of submitting agencies and CODIS hits per agency can be found on the Ohio Attorney General’s website.

The majority of CODIS hits obtained as a result of the DNA testing linked two cases together, but 300 DNA profiles were linked to between three and 18 cases. In total, those 300 serial offenders were linked by DNA to 1,127 crimes in the CODIS database.

“If you look at the people who we have been able to convict as a result of this initiative, many of them were serial rapists,” said Attorney General DeWine. “It’s scary to think they were running loose.”

While there are examples of prosecutions connected to these cases throughout the state in places such as Franklin, Lucas, Summit, and Muskingum counties, Cuyahoga County has charged the largest number of defendants as a result of the initiative. According to Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Michael C. O’Malley, 656 defendants have been indicted in connection with more than 700 cases following DNA testing conducted as part of the SAK Testing Initiative and follow-up investigation conducted by the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force.

Examples of convictions in Cuyahoga County as a result of the initiative include:

• Johnnie Paige: Paige was identified as the person who raped a 19-year-old in 2003 and a 16-year-old in 2004 after rape kits connected to the Cleveland attacks were submitted to BCI in 2014. Both victims were held at gunpoint. Paige was sentenced to 18 years in prison for the crimes.

• Delbert Buckwald: Buckwald was sentenced to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison for raping two women, as well as a 12-year-old girl who was walking home from school when she was attacked. The crimes happened in 1993 and 1994.

• Carlin Powell: DNA testing conducted as part of the SAK Testing Initiative helped identify Carlin Powell as the person who raped a 25-year-old woman in 1995 and a 15-year-old girl in 1998. He will be sentenced in Cuyahoga County for those rapes, plus a third sexual assault, next month.

“I commend Attorney General Mike DeWine for his leadership on the rape kit initiative,” said Prosecutor O’Malley. “Today’s announcement represents the collaborative work of law enforcement from all parts of Ohio. It is also an important reminder that each victim’s allegation of sexual assault needs to be thoroughly investigated so we can bring them justice and keep our communities safe.”

In an effort to identify even more attackers, the Cuyahoga County Sexual Assault Kit Task Force and BCI have also begun re-examining many other rape kits that were tested in the past, but did not yield a DNA profile at the time. DNA-testing technology in use today is more advanced and has demonstrated success in locating DNA that could not be found in the past.

“I was happy because I was able to get closure for my case,” said Liz Garcia, a sexual assault survivor whose kit was re-examined by BCI. “I remember crying in the office when I was told that they had DNA, and they opened my case and tested those kits.”

Ms. Garcia was one of 18 victims linked to a single offender by DNA. More information on her story can be found below.

“When I look back on this initiative, I’ll be able to look back and know that we made a difference,” said Attorney General DeWine. “And it wasn’t just me, it was the great scientists and investigators we have at BCI, the local investigators and victim advocates, and the prosecutors who have taken these cases to trial. We all accomplished something that really mattered to sexual assault survivors and really made a difference in their lives.”

“The Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence (OAESV) is honored to recognize and celebrate the important work of Attorney General DeWine’s Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative,” said Becky Perkins, Communications Director for the Ohio Alliance to End Sexual Violence. “OAESV is committed to continuing our partnership with the Attorney General’s Office, rape crisis centers, and allies across Ohio in providing trauma-informed support to survivors affected by the rape kit backlog, and advocating for policies that promote justice and healing.”

The Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Kit Testing Initiative also helped influence several new laws in Ohio. Law enforcement agencies are now required to submit all rape kits collected in association with a crime to a laboratory for testing within 30 days. The statute of limitations for prosecuting rape was also expanded from 20 to 25 years, with five additional years for prosecuting a case where DNA identifies a suspect after 25 years.

The Attorney General’s Office will hold a symposium in 2018 to share strategies with local law enforcement on how to efficiently and successfully investigate and prosecute rapes that occurred years or decades in the past.

2 state senators in Ohio propose statewide ban on assault weapons

Associated Press

COLUMBUS — Two Democratic lawmakers in Ohio want assault weapons banned statewide in the wake of recent deadly mass shootings.

Sens. Michael Skindell and Charleta Tavares introduced legislation Tuesday making it a fifth-degree felony to possess or acquire a firearm considered an “assault weapon.”

That includes any automatic or semi-automatic firearm capable of accepting a detachable magazine with the capacity to accept ten or more cartridges. It also includes any semi-automatic firearm with a fixed magazine that can accept ten cartridges or more.

A similar bill the pair introduced in 2013 went nowhere in Ohio’s Republican-led Legislature.

However, their latest effort follows comments Monday by Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich supporting limits of the ability to sell weapons often used in mass killings, such as the AR-15 rifle.

House Dems see path to commonsense gun laws through commonsense process reform at Statehouse

COLUMBUS— House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton) and Rep. David Leland (D-Columbus), the top Democrat on the House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee, today asked Speaker Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville) to reconsider legislation that loosens multiple gun laws and penalties, House Bill 228.

The House Federalism and Interstate Relations Committee is debating the sweeping changes under House Bill 228 instead of the House Criminal Justice Committee, a panel the lawmakers say is better equipped to deal with such radical changes to criminal laws around firearms.

“This complex bill is replete with repercussions that not only impact the law enforcement community but the public safety of the entire state,” the lawmakers wrote. “The eyes of the nation are on Ohio and we have the opportunity to show thoughtful and responsible deliberation on a bill that stands to dramatically impact criminal charging as well as penalties with regard to firearms. The Ohio Legislature has a responsibility to our communities to get this right.”

The bill would change the burden of proof in a self-defense claim when a firearm is involved, reduce criminal penalties for illegal or improper use of handguns, and prohibit local communities from enacting their own gun safety laws.

Rachel Crooks for Ohio Retweeted Donald J. Trump

Please, by all means, share the footage from the hallway outside the 24th floor residential elevator bank on the morning of January 11, 2006. Let’s clear this up for everyone. It’s liars like you in politics that have prompted me to run for office myself. https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/rachel-crooks-for-ohio-1 …

Rachel Crooks for Ohio added,

Donald J. Trump

Verified account @realDonaldTrump

A woman I don’t know and, to the best of my knowledge, never met, is on the FRONT PAGE of the Fake News Washington Post saying I kissed her (for two minutes yet) in the lobby of Trump Tower 12 years ago. Never happened! Who would do this in a public space with live security……

Replying to @RachelforOhio

You’re ridiculous. Who does that in a lobby. You’re just using Trump to get attention for yourself just like everyone else @realDonaldTrump

Zach Scott Hires Two Major Fund-raisers

The Zach Scott for Congress campaign has added two major national fund-raisers to its campaign team, Mothership Strategies <https://zachscottforcongress2018.us17.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1038a572810a8c935c1112746&id=816e99fc0b&e=c70f08295e> and Kalik & Associates <https://zachscottforcongress2018.us17.list-manage.com/track/click?u=1038a572810a8c935c1112746&id=c741d1ff7d&e=c70f08295e> .

Mothership Strategies recently lead digital fundraising for Democratic Sen. Doug Jones’ upset victory in Alabama. The company also helped raise over $30 million for Jon Ossoff’s Georgia Congressional special election in 2017 and a combined $200 million for its clients and built some of the biggest brands in progressive politics.

Kalik & Associates is a premier national fundraising firm. With over 35 years of combined experience, Kalik & Associates have successfully raised funds for clients that includes members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate.

Scott said, “Raising funds is necessary to get our message about fighting for working families to the voters of the 12th district. This will help us reach local and national donors that care about gaining jobs that provide a living wage and protecting health care coverage.”

Franklin County Sheriff from 2011 to 2017, Scott announced his candidacy on Dec. 21 and has been campaigning extensively throughout the district that spans 7 counties in Central Ohio including the northern portions of Columbus and Franklin County. It also includes all of Delaware, Licking and Morrow counties and portions of Muskingum, Marion and Richland counties.

“I plan to bring common sense back to Washington, D.C. through creative solutions and bipartisanship,” said Scott, who has more than 30 years of law enforcement service to Central Ohio.

The race for the 12th district seat already is drawing national attention, as Scott was featured in a special report on MSNBC on Jan. 30.

District residents will vote in a May 8 primary and Aug. 7 special election to fill the balance of the vacated term. Voters again will vote on Nov. 6 for the full two-year term.

2018 Delaware GOP Lincoln Reagan Dinner

Hosted by Delaware County Republican Party

Tuesday, April 3 at 5:30-9 p.m.

Nationwide Hotel & Conference Center

100 Green Meadows Dr S, Lewis Center, Ohio 43035

Please Join the Delaware County Republican Party for our 2018 Lincoln Reagan Dinner

The Honorable Karl Rove

Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush

And Special Guest Ohio Auditor of State Dave Yost Candidate for Ohio Attorney General

FILE – In this Oct. 20, 2011, file photo, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, center, holds a shotgun surrendered during a September 2011 gun buy-back event organized by the city of Cleveland and steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, before tossing the shotgun into a furnace at an ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/02/web1_119928750-51486d0ff4654d039cd6e6100d057b96-1.jpgFILE – In this Oct. 20, 2011, file photo, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, center, holds a shotgun surrendered during a September 2011 gun buy-back event organized by the city of Cleveland and steel and mining company ArcelorMittal, before tossing the shotgun into a furnace at an ArcelorMittal steel mill in Cleveland. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)

FILE – In this April 27, 2016, file photo, Ohio state Attorney General Mike DeWine, right, alongside Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, left, speaks to reporters about the unsolved killings of seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family whose bodies were found at four homes near Piketon, Ohio, on April 22, 2016, during a news conference in Waverly, Ohio. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/02/web1_119928750-de945167948842e8b2cdcd35d3b061ec-1.jpgFILE – In this April 27, 2016, file photo, Ohio state Attorney General Mike DeWine, right, alongside Pike County Sheriff Charles Reader, left, speaks to reporters about the unsolved killings of seven adults and a teenage boy from the Rhoden family whose bodies were found at four homes near Piketon, Ohio, on April 22, 2016, during a news conference in Waverly, Ohio. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)

FILE – In this July 7, 2017, file photo, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who announced her entry into the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race that day, speaks before a gathering of Republicans at the City Club of Cleveland in Cleveland. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Dake Kang, File)
https://www.sunburynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/48/2018/02/web1_119928750-3da76c7b67f94d23b634b17ad5da711a-1.jpgFILE – In this July 7, 2017, file photo, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who announced her entry into the state’s 2018 gubernatorial race that day, speaks before a gathering of Republicans at the City Club of Cleveland in Cleveland. Voters in Ohio’s 2018 elections have their pick of positions on gun rights, among a crowded field of contenders vying to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich. (AP Photo/Dake Kang, File)

Staff and Wire Reports