Gov: Strickland (D) Responds to Smear in Interview
Hat tip to the excellent blog Dayton Politics for linking to this story in today's Athens News, in which gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) and his spokesperson Keith Daley comment on the ugly and baseless rumor-mongering that got Republican operative and former Ohio Restoration Project employee Guy Lankford into trouble, and eventually fired, last week:
The race for Ohio governor got dirtier last week with several personal allegations made against Democratic nominee Ted Strickland. ...The article goes on to quote Pullins, who concedes that he has no basis for his outlandish insinuation except that it seems "weird" to him that the Stricklands married "late" (age 46) and have no children. He also tries to shift the blame for spreading rumors to gubernatorial primary candidate Bryan Flannery (D-Strongville), whose faltering campaign resorted to wild finger-pointing and slander in the last days before the May 2nd primary.
Lankford, who was working as a "social conservative coordinator" for the Ohio Republican Party, sent an e-mail to a group of "pro-family friends" attacking Strickland's church attendance, work ethic, voting record and other issues. The e-mail also alleged that Strickland and his wife, Frances, live in separate states, and included a link to an article on [controversial Republican operative Scott] Pullins' web site that questions Strickland's sexual orientation. ...
Strickland ... on Friday denied all of the charges in an interview with The Athens NEWS, and said they show that the Republicans will do anything to win the governor's election.
Keith Dailey, spokesperson for Strickland, pointed out that Strickland has a home in Lisbon, which is in the 6th District, as well as another home in Columbus, about five minutes from the airport.
"Frances obviously lives in Ohio," Dailey said. He added that while Frances Strickland does have family members in Kentucky whom she visits, she lives with her husband in Ohio.
"I think they're just grasping at straws," Dailey said. He added that the attack is full of lies and innuendos, and it is "kind of sad that they would drag Ted's family into this."
As for the issue of whether Strickland goes to church, Dailey pointed out that Strickland is an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church and has served as a pastor, as well as serving in other positions for the church.
Strickland said that the 2004 presidential election showed that the Republican Party would use personal attacks and any other means to win an election, and this is just another example of those attacks.
"They are scared to death of losing power," Strickland said. "They know the polls show the people of Ohio are ready for change." ...
Strickland said he was disappointed to see the allegations made against him, but not surprised.
"Nothing surprises me anymore," Strickland said. "Unfortunately, there are people in the extreme radical right end of the Republican Party that will do anything to hold onto power. This is just an example of that."
He added that the personal attacks were "hurtful" and that they were just innuendos and outright lies.
"That's what desperate people do when they know the voters are rejecting them," Strickland said. "The voters are rejecting this crowd. They are tired of what's happening in Ohio. They want change." ...