Both President Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are in Ohio the final weekend before Tuesday's election. Emily McCord speaks to Ohio Statehouse News Bureau Chief Karen Kasler about the significance about campaigning in Southwest Ohio, whether or not the controversy surrounding the Romney's camp's Jeep talk will alter the election, and the state of the senate race and Issue 2.
McCord: Welcome to PoliticsOhio I'm Emily McCord. Just a few days now before the election and Ohio clearly remains a state to watch. Today I am joined by Karen Kasler she is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for Ohio Public Radio. Thanks for being here.
Kasler: No problem.
M: This weekend it's bonanza for campaigning in Ohio The President is crisscrossing the state throughout the weekend and Mitt Romney is holding sort of a super-rally with GOP surrogates. There seems to be a lot of focus lately on the southwest part of Ohio, what's the strategy there?
K: Well it sure looks like Hamilton County is going to be big big area that may be in play here. I mean we always hear about Columbus being in play and I think you are seeing that in the candidates both deciding to stop by Columbus on their way to Election Day. But, also the idea that Hamilton County is a big deal, it potentially could be a swing I mean Mitt Romney barely won Hamilton County back during the primary and obviously Obama looks at the city as a big place to win in Ohio so Hamilton County is gonna be a major county that a lot of people are going to be watching and that's why the candidates are stopping there.
M: One think that Ohioans are talking about is this whole controversy surrounding comments and ads by the Romney campaign saying that Jeep Chrysler is moving production to China. Jeep, GM, and Democrats are saying that's not true. What impact if any could this have on Tuesday's outcome?
K: Well you've got some people who are comparing it to the swift boat ads back in, with John Kerry this idea of trying to throw in a last minute very damaging thing to try to sway the few voters who may not have voted who may be still on the fence. It's really a last minute very almost insanely crazy idea thrown in at the 11th hour so to speak and you know Mitt Romney is saying he is standing behind this he actually expanded his ad buy on it and the Democrats and the unions have said these are wrong ads, it's unfair that these are completely off the charts wrong and so it started in Northwest but then has moved all around the country now.
M: Polls have been showing a tight race in Ohio although at most the President has held onto a slim lead here, but the Senate race between incumbent Sherrod Brown and GOP challenger Josh Mandel seems to be less tight. Is this race Brown's to lose?
K: I think so; I just did a piece on this, this whole idea of ticket splitting. A lot of people do split the ticket when they vote especially when it comes to the presidential race or US senate race or presidential race and congressional races. You've got certainly the polls showing a very close race between Obama and Romney, but a much wider gap between Mandel and Brown and that suggests the people might be voting for one candidate but not the other and you Mandel has been sticking close on the heels of Mitt Romney throughout this campaign I think in the hopes that coattails would bring, that he could ride Mitt Romney's coattail's in a way. But polling does suggest that people might be voting for Romney and then voting for Brown. One political scientist I talked to said he would not be surprised to see that if Obama does lose Ohio that Sherrod Brown still retains his seat.
M: Question about Issue 2 and that's the one the constitutional amendment to establish a 12-person group of state residents to handle the redrawing of legislative and congressional districts we learned that opponents of the measure have outraised supporters by almost 2-1 last week, what does that tell us about the outcome of this measure?
K: I think that, some polling has suggested that's actually going to be the result of the vote. The only advertising many people have seen on Issue 2 has been the opposition to Issue 2 the opposition is the Rep party, and some business groups and others who want to keep the map the congressional and statehouse maps the way that they are if Issue 2 did pass then those maps would be thrown out and then the map drawing process would be handed over to an independent citizen's commission there are a lot of people who are very suspicious of how that commission would work and says it's too complicated and that because it is a constitutional amendment it would be in the constitution forever and the people who are backing that amendment say the system is screwed up and the map is terrible and something has to change and there is no guarantee that politicians will do that. But I think that it doesn't look good for Issue 2 just looking at some of the polling and obviously the spending as you mentioned the ads and the mailers that have been against Issue 2 have overwhelmed those that are for it.
M: Tune in to WYSO on Election night Karen Kasler will join me for the latest results and analysis and that'll being 8 o'clock Tuesday night, Karen thanks for being here today.
K: No Problem thanks.