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  • Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal

    Saturday, September 18, 2004

    Seeing through the smoke in Central Ohio 

    In its Battleground Ohio series, The Columbus Dispatch has been reporting on anomalies that make Ohio so politically interesting. The most recent stop on the Dispatch's statewide tour is Central Ohio:

    This is another story of a section of Ohio in which the big-city county (Columbus and Franklin County) votes at odds with the rest of the region. Al Gore won Franklin County but lost to President Bush every other county in this 20-county region. The margin wasn't even close, an overall 11 percent.

    Jon Craig, who previously reported for the Akron Beacon Journal, discovered that what is odd is that the single most important driver in this election in Ohio - the economy - is comparatively good in Franklin County but not so good in counties such as Morgan. And it makes not one bit of difference in Morgan County.

    Among the Ohioans who taught this to Craig was Rob Foreman. He is 53. He lost his job at Gould Electronics in McConnelsville, when the firm was purchased by a Japanese company and then closed, the work sent to the Philippines. Foreman has a new job at Morgan Ace Hardware.

    ``It seems like everyone I talk to is starting a (new) job making half of what they did when they left their last one,'' Foreman told Craig.

    Foreman sounds like a potential John Kerry voter, but he isn't. Morgan County always votes Republican (unless the Republican was Barry Goldwater), and Foreman is a Morgan County kind of guy.

    In much of Central Ohio, social values outweigh all else. And so it isn't difficult for voters like Foreman to stick with President Bush. Foreman says that when it comes to attracting jobs to Ohio and providing health care, both the president and Democrat John Kerry are ``just blowing smoke.''

    - Steve Love

    posted by Ohioblog: A Swing State Journal at 1:31 PM

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