Morning News: DNC day 3; could Dems lose Ohio?; union-backed PAC hit with fine

Yesterday was day three of the DNC, where more heavy hitters lined up to praise presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Hey all. Let’s talk news.

First, let’s get to this Democratic National Convention stuff.  Yesterday was day three of the DNC, where more heavy hitters lined up to praise presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Among them were former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who took GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump to task as a fellow New Yorker, basically calling The Donald a con man. Vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine also spoke, giving voters his backstory and boosting Clinton’s credentials. The speech of the night, of course, belonged to President Barack Obama, who gave emotional testimony about Clinton’s qualifications and tenacity.

• There was also, as you might have guessed, a fair amount of controversy. Well-known celebs like Susan Sarandon and Danny Glover were outside the convention yesterday protesting the alleged removal of former Ohio State Sen. Nina Turner, a prominent supporter of U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s primary rival. Turner was slated to introduce Sanders before his Monday night address, but did not, allegedly because she refused to endorse Clinton.

• Meanwhile, Trump yesterday was off doing his own thing — his own thing in this particular case being asking Russia to hack Clinton’s e-mail. Clinton’s team deleted about 30,000 e-mails from her time as secretary of state, e-mails those involved say related to private matters and not to her job as the nation’s top diplomat. Trump suggested that if Russia found and released those e-mails, they would be “rewarded mightily by our press.” The statements basically asking a foreign nation to spy on a political opponent are among the most unconventional given by a modern presidential candidate, to put it lightly. Trump made the statement in response to a question about hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee revealing that DNC staffers made statements against the Sanders campaign when the committee was ostensibly supposed to remain neutral. Intelligence experts believe those hacks were committed by Russia.

• Speaking of Trump, are Democrats worried blue collar voters who once turned out for them will give Ohio to The Donald? It seems that way. Voters in largely working class areas of the state like Mahoning County seem to be leaning more toward the orange one lately, swayed by his promises of better manufacturing jobs and tighter national security. Those areas are spots Democrats will need if they’re going to win Ohio, perhaps the nation’s most vital swing state.

• As both parties continue to hone in on our state, Ohio Gov. John Kasich remains outside the fray in the presidential contest. Kasich, a Republican, has pointedly refused to endorse Trump “unless he changes completely.” That’s a big deal — Kasich’s endorsement as the governor of a big swing state and a favorite of more moderate Republicans could give Trump a big boost here. The governor says he’s focused on supporting party members running down-ballot races, but won’t give any support to his former primary opponent.

• Speaking of down-ballot races: The U.S. Senate race between GOP incumbent Rob Portman and Democrat former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is still neck and neck. The most recent poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal shows Strickland at 43 percent of the vote and Portman at 42 percent. To try and gain an edge, Strickland is touting his progressive bone fides to younger voters and has even repaired relations with his former primary opponent Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who will be campaigning for Strickland and holding a fundraiser for the popular Democrat.

• Finally, a bit of local political news to wrap this up: a union-backed political action committee must pay $15,000 in fines over missed state and federal elections paper work in relation to radio ads attacking Cincinnati City Councilman Christopher Smitherman during his 2013 campaign. The Ohio Election Commission smacked Cincinnatians for Jobs Now with the fine after complaints from Smitherman backers about the $300,000 in ads. Attorneys representing those making the complaints asked for a $100,000 fine, while officials with the PAC asked for a more lenient penalty, saying the paperwork snags were an honest mistake. Much of the money for the ads came from Smitherman rival Rob Richardson, Sr., who had run against Smitherman for the role of Cincinnati NAACP president the previous year.

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