Quicken Loans supported Trump, but that doesn’t mean Dan Gilbert always has. Kasich schedules a Cleveland stop on his upcoming book tour. And the Cleveland mayoral race gets an injection of personality. Read more in today’s Ohio Politics Roundup, coming today from Andrew J. Tobias.
Ohioans pony up for Trump’s inaugural: Ohioans chipped in about $2 million of the whopping $106.7 million raised for President Donald Trump’s inaugural, the Columbus Dispatch’s Darrel Rowland reports. The total was double the previous record amount raised for President Barack Obama’s festivities in 2009.
Half of the Ohio money “came from two financial institutions: $500,000 each from JP Morgan Chase and longtime GOP backer American Financial Group. ..About $400,000 more came from mining interests in eastern Ohio, while Middletown Tube Works President and CEO Angela Phillips added $160,000.”
And from that state up north: “Quicken Loans, run by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, contributed $750,000, but it’s based in Detroit,” Rowland notes.
Reminder: Gilbert had backed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in the 2016 primary, and later gave $150,000 benefiting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s campaign. But Gilbert has expressed some optimism for the Trump presidency, saying in January that he’s happy Trump will take on ‘crazy regulation.’
DeVos chooses Ohio: Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, a school choice champion and wealthy GOP donor, joined one of her fiercest critics, national teachers union chief Randi Weingarten, on a visit to a public school Thursday in Van Wert in Northwest Ohio. Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, invited DeVos “to see what strategies are helping students be successful,” according to the Associated Press.
“Lori Bittner, principal of the Van Wert Early Childhood Center, which serves 325 preschool and kindergarten students –including those with special needs — welcomed Ms. DeVos and shook her hand,” reports Vanessa McCray of the Toledo Blade.
Parents and teachers held a roundtable discussion with DeVos and Weingarten, who sat next to each other, McCray reports.
Before her visit, in an op-ed on cleveland.com, DeVos said she wanted to make two things clear:
“I believe every student should have an equal opportunity to get a great education. And I believe many of those great educations are, and will continue to be, provided by traditional public schools.”
Kasich’s road show: Besides a previously announced return to New Hampshire, and a CNN town hall with Anderson Cooper on Monday, Gov. John Kasich is hitting some high-profile spots during a tour promoting his new book “Two Paths: America Divided or United,” which comes out Tuesday.
As Rowland reports, Kasich has an appearance booked at the Nixon Library in California. He’s also going to Harvard University, where he’ll be interviewed by political analyst and former presidential adviser David Gergen. Other stops include Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
Oh, and there are some Ohio stops on the tour, including an April 30 gig at 1 p.m. at the Barnes & Noble in Crocker Park in Westlake.
Leaning red: Ohio is likely to elect a Republican governor next year to succeed Kasich, according to Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a publication of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, reports Laura A. Bischoff of the Dayton Daily News.
“Ohio turned sharply toward the GOP in 2016, and Republicans have a stronger field of candidates at the moment. At this early point, Leans Republican seems appropriate, though the environment will obviously matter,” Bischoff quoted from Sabato’s report.
The report cited the GOP’s strong bench of contenders – Attorney General Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth.
But it didn’t overlook possible Democratic contenders. Former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley “are probably the two most credible candidates in that group. Looming in the background is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, a former state attorney general and treasurer who may only run if Trump fires him from his current job, as well as former Rep. Dennis Kucinich,” the report says, according to Bischoff.
Dennis! speculation continues: Speaking of Kucinich, he’s scheduled to appear in Dayton Monday to hold a press conference and town hall meeting, the same day Kasich is holding his national TV town hall. As Will Garbe of the Dayton Daily News reports, Kucinich’s appearance further fuels speculation about his gubernatorial ambitions. His topic is “the impact of privatization on Ohio’s public schools,” Garbe writes.
Ryan’s money: One prominent Democrat who passed up the governor’s race, U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of the Youngstown area, raised a near-record amount of cash during the first quarter of the year for his congressional re-election next year, reports David Skolnick of the Youngstown Vindicator.
Ryan raised $162,825, his second-strongest fundraising quarter. But, Skolnick writes, “Ryan spent $150,552 – the most he’s ever spent for a first quarter.”
Mom sent back to Mexico: Despite pleas from religious leaders and prominent Ohio politicians, Maribel Trujillo Diaz, a mother of four from Fairfield in Southwest Ohio, was deported back to Mexico Wednesday, WCPO reported. “Trujillo, who came to the country illegally in 2002, said she’d fled Mexico because drug cartels targeted her family,” the report said. A federal appeals court last week denied her petition for a stay.
Republican U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson was asked about the deportation Wednesday during an event in Oxford, reports Michael D. Pitman of the Dayton Daily News. Davidson said Trujillo had not requested help from his office, and “Frankly it was questionable whether if we could do casework for her. She was not a U.S. citizen,” Pitman writes. “That response brought the mostly left-leaning crowd of about 75 people to shout the things they believed Trujillo did do: pay taxes, be a productive community member, possess a valid work permit, and take care of her four children between the ages of 3 and 14.”
More on the immigration front: The future of a federal immigration program that lets rich foreign families come to the United States and stay, as long as they invest $500,000 in job-creating economic development and pass background checks, could be in jeopardy, cleveland.com’s Stephen Koff reports.
“The visa-for-cash program is supposed to help down-on-their-heels areas where banks and U.S. citizens might be reluctant to invest, and its promoters say it paid off wildly in cities like Cleveland — and helped about 1,500 foreigners who invested in the area, mostly living in China at the time, get two-year visas or permanent residency in the United States. But it’s also helped fund upscale developments like shopping centers with Apple stores, Hyatt hotels and offices in relatively affluent places like Westlake and midtown Manhattan,” Koff explains.
Livening up the Cleveland’s mayor’s race: “The Cleveland mayoral race now has personality,” cleveland.com columnist Mark Naymik observed after Cleveland City Councilman Zack Reed threw his hat in the ring. “Regardless of his many faults, Reed will inject a large voice into the race. And it’s one that Jackson and the other candidates – who have largely been quiet – won’t be able to ignore for long,” Naymik says.
Steeling for a fight: “President Donald Trump today ordered the Commerce Department to investigate whether steel imports harm the defense of the United States, moving the ongoing complaints from the steel industry and steelmakers to a new plane — one that could lead to new sanctions and trade actions between this country and its steelmaking competitors, Koff reported Thursday.
On hand in the Oval Office were representatives of the steel industry and United Steelworkers union, including top executives from Timken Steel, based in Canton; West Chester-based AK Steel, and ArcelorMittal, a global steelmaker with a large Cleveland operation.
“This executive order will give us the tools we need to lure our companies back and our people back to work,” said Leo Gerard, president the Steelworkers union.
Koff notes that “Congress members from Ohio applauded Trump’s willingness to investigate the issue. But some said they are not yet convinced he will follow up as they say is needed. The last time such an inquiry was launched, when George W. Bush was president, no action followed.”
Rising to the challenge: Cleveland City Council candidate and community activist Basheer Jones fended off a challenge to his Ward 7 residency, cleveland.com’s Robert Higgs reports. The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections on Wednesday dismissed a challenge filed by four residents. Jones is one of several potential candidates seeking to unseat Councilman TJ Dow.
Happening today: The Ohio Republican Party central committee is meeting in Columbus. The meeting agenda is light — a party GOP spokesman said it will focus on filling a vacancy on the committee and making internal committee assignments.
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