September 15, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Tanzania: Politics: State Government: Toledo Blade: Gov. Taft focuses on agenda, not '06 election

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Tanzania: Special Report: Ohio Governor Bob Taft, RPCV Tanzania: February 9, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: RPCV Bob Taft (Tanzania) : September 15, 2005: Headlines: Figures: COS - Tanzania: Politics: State Government: Toledo Blade: Gov. Taft focuses on agenda, not '06 election

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Gov. Taft focuses on agenda, not '06 election

Gov. Taft focuses on agenda, not '06 election

"I'm not focused on next year's election," Mr. Taft said yesterday after a Statehouse ceremony to dedicate a display of Ohio's 88 county flags. "Obviously, I'm not a candidate. I'm term-limited. I'm focused on doing the job I was elected to do as governor." Ohio Governor Robert Taft served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tanzania in the 1960's.

Gov. Taft focuses on agenda, not '06 election

Gov. Taft focuses on agenda, not '06 election

GOP hopefuls don't want his support


COLUMBUS - Gov. Bob Taft said yesterday he's not worried about next year's statewide election and instead is intent on getting his agenda accomplished before time runs out on his term.

"I'm not focused on next year's election," Mr. Taft said yesterday after a Statehouse ceremony to dedicate a display of Ohio's 88 county flags. "Obviously, I'm not a candidate. I'm term-limited. I'm focused on doing the job I was elected to do as governor."

Last month, Mr. Taft became the first Ohio governor to be convicted on criminal charges after he was charged with violat-ing the state's ethics code. Since the convictions, Mr. Taft has heard calls for his resignation from both ends of the political spectrum.

The leading Republican candidates to succeed Mr. Taft when his term expires say they aren't concerned by the governor's lack of focus on next year's election.

Representatives from the gubernatorial campaign of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a Republican, say they never expected Mr. Taft to be involved in their campaign.

"Ken Blackwell is the anti-Taft, and so our campaign is not based on his involvement and has actually been running against a lot of his agenda and the issues he has been out front on," said Mike Hernon, Mr. Blackwell's campaign manager.

"The recent scandal must be seen as part of the whole legacy of the Taft administration and the agenda that they pushed," Mr. Hernon said.

Mr. Taft's administration is at the center of a scandal over Ohio's failed $50 million rare-coin investment with Republican fund-raiser Tom Noe. The investment has spawned more than a dozen investigations and triggered the firings and resignations of high-level government officials.

Mark Weaver, a Republican strategist, said the governor would have been criticized if he said he was worried about next year's election.

Mr. Weaver, who's also a spokesman for the gubernatorial campaign of Republican State Auditor Betty Montgomery, said he expects Democrats will try to turn every Republican candidate next year into "Taft Junior."

"Ohio voters are pretty smart. They know that Bob Taft's problems are his own," Mr. Weaver said.

Matt Cox, a spokesman for Attorney General Jim Petro, who is seeking the Republican nomination for governor, said Mr. Taft should steer clear of next year's race until a nominee is chosen, regardless of the questions about his own administration.

"I think he's right to stay out of it," Mr. Cox said. "Despite what's going on, it wouldn't make any sense for him to get involved."

"When the general election comes around and there's a nominee, the sitting governor would be working to try and help them win," he added.

Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party, predicted that if Mr. Taft were to endorse one of the Republican candidates, "they'd run."

"It's pretty clear right now that Republicans are scattering and running away from Bob Taft," Mr. Rothenberg said.

Locally, state Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) said Ohioans will be more concerned with the future than the past when it's time to return to the polls.

"People don't want to hear about the past; they want to hear about who's coming," said Mr. Latta, adding that he's heard little from his constituents about the governor.

Still, Mr. Latta said, he doesn't plan to take anything for granted when he runs for re-election next year.

"I have seen folks that have been in public office that will admit after a defeat that they took it for granted," Mr. Latta said. "I would never assume anything."

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Story Source: Toledo Blade

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; Figures; COS - Tanzania; Politics; State Government


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