Cleveland Clinic ends association with Trump’s Mar-a-Lago: Ohio Politics Roundup

Clinic pulls plug on Mar-a-Lago gala: The Cleveland Clinic, facing criticism for continuing to hold an annual fundraising gala at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida, announced Thursday it was canceling plans to hold the 2018 event there, cleveland.com’s Stephen Koff reports.

The announcement follows a decision by Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove “and top executives of some of the nation’s leading corporations on Wednesday to disband a business advisory council that reported to the president,” Koff writes. “They said Trump’s recent comments on last weekend’s violence in Virginia by neo-Nazis and Ku Klux Klan supporters were inappropriate and didn’t represent the values for which they and their organizations stood.”

The pressure to move the event began long before this week, Koff notes. “The Mar-a-Lago controversy erupted soon after Trump took office in January and signed an executive order to temporarily ban people from Syria and other Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. This affected medical students and young doctors doing residencies at American hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic.”

The Crystal Ball knows: Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball and a Cleveland-area native, has a new analysis titled “Governors 2017-2018: The Democrats’ Complicated Path to Big Gains.” Kondik, who is with the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, concludes that the Republican candidate who wins the nomination for Ohio governor next year “likely is going to be a more proven vote-getter than the Democratic candidate.” (He notes that the current favorite is Attorney General Mike DeWine, “but he faces other serious, seasoned challengers.”)

If Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection bureau, decides to jump into the Democratic race, he “has the potential to make a big splash,” says Kondik, who notes for full disclosure that he used to work for Cordray when Cordray was Ohio’s attorney general.

“However, it is also not obvious to us that state and national Democrats are necessarily united in pining for his candidacy, and he’ll have work to do just to get through the primary,” Kondik writes.

More 2018 prognostication: The Cook Political Report released its monthly projections for next year’s crop of U.S. Senate races on Thursday. The site grades Democratic Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown’s re-election effort as “leans Democratic” (one notch away from “toss-up.”) That’s the same rating as last month, for those keeping score at home.

Ohio GOP cattle call: The four 2018 Republican Ohio governor candidates all will attend the first forum of this election cycle, the Columbus Dispatch’s Darrel Rowland writes.

The event is Oct. 8. “Republican pollster Frank Luntz will interview each candidate individually for 15 to 20 minutes in the event, sponsored by Citizens for Community Values and Salem Media Group,” according to Rowland. CCV is a Southwest Ohio social-conservative group, and Salem Media Group is a Christian-radio network.

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“Organizers say all four candidates have confirmed attendance: Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.”

Brown backs Whaley: It’s not exactly what it sounds like. As the Dayton Daily News’ Laura Bischoff riffs, it’s not Sherrod Brown, but his daughter, Columbus City Councilwoman Liz Brown, who has endorsed Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley’s candidacy in next year’s Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Sherrod Brown has not backed any Democratic candidate for governor, and he has indicated he does not plan to pick sides in the primary.

Still crazy after all these years: In cleveland.com’s second installment of the “Out of Line” series, data expert Rich Exner traces the long history of gerrymandering and concludes the dubious tradition “is alive and well, perhaps to a greater degree than ever in Ohio.”

In case you haven’t caught up, the series “will search for a better way – highlighting over the next several months how some other states and countries block, or diminish, the role of politicians from the process of mapping political districts.”

Grandpa Dennis: Politico Playbook reported Wednesday on a new arrival that has made former U.S. Rep. and presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich a proud grandfather. “Jackie Kucinich, Washington bureau chief for the Daily Beast and a CNN political analyst and Jared Allen, senior director for media relations at the National Automobile Dealers Association, welcomed Evelyn June Allen, who was born on Tuesday at 11:08 a.m. at Sibley Memorial Hospital, weighing in at 6 lbs. 12 oz.,” Playbook reported.

Kucinich shared his excitement about the impending birth during a recent visit to cleveland.com in which he discussed rumors about his current political aspirations.

Jimmy D’s lifeline? A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision could give disgraced former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Jimmy Dimora’s lawyers an opening to try to get him out of prison, cleveland.com’s Eric Heisig writes.

Heisig broke down two recent cases that overturned corruption convictions for a pair of prominent politicians — a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court ruling for former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and a 2015 federal appellate decision for former New York Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver — to examine their similarities and differences with Dimora’s case. Dimora is serving a 28-year prison sentence for various corruption charges.

Democratic state rep offended by GOP colleague’s Confederacy comments: In a Thursday conference call organized by the Ohio Democratic Party, State Rep. Stephanie Howse, a Cleveland Democrat, offered her two cents on GOP Butler County State Rep. Candice Keller’s recent Facebook post defending confederate monuments. (The post apparently has been deleted or made private since we mentioned it in Wednesday’s roundup.)

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“I believe she is a person operating from a place that is built from white supremacy,” said Howse, the chair of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, according to cleveland.com’s Seth Richardson. “The Confederacy, it was based on keeping slavery alive and well, which was the destruction of the black community and our African-American community. That’s what it was. To say that it’s anything else but that, you’re being disingenuous.”

In related news: Willoughby South High School, in Lake County, will no longer use a Confederate-capped mascot, but will still refer to its team as the “Rebels,” following a decision announced Thursday by the Willoughby-Eastlake city school district, cleveland.com’s Emily Bamforth writes.

RX issue ballot language approved: “The Ohio Ballot Board approved language Thursday afternoon for how a prescription drug proposal will be presented on the Nov. 7 ballot, with no conflict between the sides lined up for and against Issue 2,” writes cleveland.com’s Laura Hancock.

Husted brokered a meeting between the groups supporting and opposing the measure to negotiate the summary language, which is a little more than 100 words long.

The Ohio Ballot Board also approved summary language for Issue 1, a victims-rights proposal known as “Marsy’s Law.”

Jackson endorsement – Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson notched an important, if unsurprising endorsement in his re-election bid on Thursday. Dave Wondolowski, executive secretary of the Cleveland Construction and Building Trades Council, called Jackson a “friend of labor” as he officially offered the Jackson campaign the trade council’s support.

The council, a group of 27 unions representing 14,000 workers on construction sites, is a key player in city politics, and has benefited from the downtown construction boom under Jackson’s watch. Wondolowski also is one of the two Democrats on the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.

SEIU weighs in: A local chapter of the Service Employees International Union also issued an endorsement in the Cleveland mayor’s race Thursday. SEIU Local 1 backed City Councilman Jeff Johnson, who is running with the heavy backing from another SEIU chapter. The group also endorsed a full slate of City Council challengers, including Joe Jones, a former city councilman running for Ward 1 Councilman Terrell Pruitt’s seat, and Mansfield Frazier, a radio host and activist running for Councilman T.J. Dow’s Ward 7 seat.

Why this matters: These endorsements illustrate the divide between two major Cleveland labor groups. Jackson and the building-trades council, which represents higher-wage, skilled workers, oppose a ballot issue to set a Cleveland-only $15 minimum wage. Johnson, who is challenging Jackson from the left, and SEIU, which represents lower-paid service workers, have championed the $15 minimum wage.

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Yost gets theological: Ohio Auditor Dave Yost landed in some mildly hot water with the Cleveland Jewish News over an Aug. 13 tweet he issued in the aftermath of the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

As the CJN’s Ed Carroll described it, Yost, a Republican candidate for Ohio Attorney General in 2018, intended for his tweet to be “a unifying message in the wake of violence in Charlottesville, Va., but caused confusion with some people who don’t practice Christianity.”

Yost tweeted a verse from the New Testament chapter of Galatians that reads: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

“Yost said for people who share his Christian faith, the distinctions of race and status in a society are irrelevant before God,” according to the article. He also told Carroll “he does not interpret the verse as saying only those who follow Jesus Christ can achieve salvation, and wasn’t sure how anyone could read the verse as such,” and offered up an Old Testament verse that he said holds a similar meaning.

“I tweeted that out because I deeply resent the people on the so-called ‘alt-right’ who claim Christian underpinnings and spew hatred toward specific groups of people,” Yost told Carroll. “I put several other tweets out that spoke to this more contemporary, secular language, but I was really targeting people who share my faith by profession, whether that would be those that were expressing the hatred or those who were confused about how to react to that hatred.”

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