Republicans and Democrats host watch parties for second gubernatorial debate

Joey Pompignano

Jane Reineke

Republican supporters carved into pumpkins the names of Republican running mates John Kasich and Mary Taylor Thursday night, moments before the second gubernatorial debate.

Members of Kent State’s College Republicans ate sloppy joe sandwiches by the bonfire as they discussed both candidates for governor.

Eric Allen, senior finance major and vice president of Kent Political Union, said that Strickland’s overemphasis of the need for a balanced budget distracts from improvements Kasich will make in creating jobs.

“Businesses are profitable. Government, in a lot of ways, is like a business,” Allen said. “He’ll be able to handle the economic growth very well.”

Allen said the tax policy must be reformed to reduce taxes and turn power back to the state.

Andrew Polz, senior integrated social studies major and vice president of College Republicans cited how 400,000 jobs were lost under Strickland. He said negative ads used to downgrade Kasich and his affiliation with Lehman Brothers is blown out of proportion.

“They’re making it out to be like he was the CEO,” he said.

Polz said he hoped for a neutral and unbiased judge asking questions to the opponents.

“It’s very common for people to just tip-toe around answers because they don’t want to make mistakes,” he said.

Just a five-minute drive from the Powell home, a few Democratic supporters watched the debate at the Kent Democratic Coordinated Campaign Office.

Brimfield resident Iris Detweiler was one of three Strickland supporters at the campaign headquarters watching the televised debate on a projector against the wall.


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“Kasich did a lot of dodging, deflecting or distorting Strickland’s record,” Detweiler said. She said Strickland inherited a recession and noted that he still managed to put Ohio in a top five state ranking for creating green jobs.

She pointed to one of many signs in the building, which read “Reckless Kasich Cuts” with price amounts Kasich plans to cut from Portage County police and fire departments, parks, public health, local libraries and local school districts. Cutting from local school districts particularly bothers her, for her passion in education translates to her being a schoolteacher at Akron Montessori School.

“The business model is not a government model,” Detweiler said. “The bottom line of a business is to make money. A government’s responsibility is the welfare of the people.”

Republicans and Democrats at both watch parties were confident despite the tight race at the polls that their candidate will win in the November elections.

“I think this one’s going to go down to the last few minutes and it’s going to be a real nail-biter like all the fun elections are,” Allen said.

Detweiler said integrity is a key characteristic of leadership that is necessary when running for governor.

“Strickland has integrity,” she said. “Hopefully the voters realize that.”

Contact reporter Joey Pompignano at [email protected].