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Capital News: Did Husted really say that? Yes and No

by MARC KOVAC | CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published: February 7, 2013 12:00 AM

Columbus -- Yes, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted made some comments at a post-election conference in November about changing Ohio from a winner-takes-all state to one that doles out its electoral votes by congressional district.

No, I don't think he was endorsing any such plan, despite what you may hear.

Yes, I was there at the time.

No, I didn't think, within the context, the statement indicated some master play by the state's Republicans to rig future presidential elections to ensure GOP victories and Democratic defeats.

Yes, I can understand how Husted's comments are a concern to Democrats -- " Fix redistricting so that we had fair congressional districts and you could apportion all of our electoral votes according to congressional districts so it wouldn't be a winner-take-all state. And if you did that, you would take the importance of Ohio out of this and all those elections problems would go away."

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No, I have never heard Husted say publicly that he endorses that plan and will push for its passage.

Yes, I've heard Husted publicly endorse a number of other plans, including one he carried in the legislature that would change the way Ohio draws its congressional and legislative districts, with an eye toward bipartisan compromise.

No, he hasn't been shy about pointing out how lawmakers balked at that plan before the remapping morass that prompted legal challenges, an unsuccessful ballot drive last November and continued criticism of a process controlled by one party or the other.

Yes, Democrats disagree with Husted on a number of election-related issues, as evidenced by the reform package state Sen. and possible secretary of state challenger Nina Turner rolled out last week.

No, it wouldn't be wise for Husted to ignore Turner, a strong Statehouse presence with frequent national exposure.

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Yes, Husted made a good point in the days after the general election when he said removing Ohio's swing state status likely would tone down the fiery rhetoric and vitriol aimed at his office and election-related decisions.

No, I don't think the state's significance in the presidential election is the only reason people filed lawsuits and fought for more opportunities to vote early.

Yes, groups in other states are pushing ideas that would change how their electoral votes are counted.

No, I haven't heard any Statehouse Republicans in positions of leadership say publicly that Ohio should attempt the same.

Yes, Ohioans complain about election year politics and robo calls and mailers and TV and radio spots.

No, I don't think they really want to change the system to avoid such nuisances -- the barrage of campaign ads and candidate appearances gives us something to complain about every four years.

Yes, I think House and Senate GOP members will introduce and attempt to move election-related legislation this year.

No, I don't think photo ID and other controversial measures will make it through the process, given the timing before a pivotal election year and the desire of the governor and other GOP statewide office-holders to retain their positions.

Yes, maybe I'm just being naive.

It wouldn't be the first time.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.

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