The Dispatch spoke of its disappointment with the incumbent Democratic governor. The newspaper said that "with hard times likely to persist, [Strickland's] performance does not inspire confidence."
Ohio's budget is facing a crisis unlike any in memory. A deficit of such magnitude speaks to the failure of Strickland even to begin the process of putting Ohio on a sustainable fiscal basis. He should have begun two years ago to make the fundamental structural changes needed to bring the state's spending into line with its income. Instead, he relied on federal handouts and other one-time money to put off the day of reckoning. Now that day is at hand, and he still has given voters no clue as to how he would bridge the budget gap.
The Beacon Journal's endorsement suggests that Gov. Strickland "has faced economic conditions among the worst in the past half-century. No governor of a state like Ohio, Democratic or Republican, has overcome the punishing recession." Nonetheless, he has made "much progress, crafting a record worthy of a second term."
Strickland has made education a high priority, devising formulas and plans that have potential, once the economy recovers, the newspaper said.
The economic and political reality has been harsh. To his credit, the governor has made tough choices. He has relied far more heavily on spending reductions to close budget holes. Civil unrest hardly erupted when he put off a scheduled reduction in income tax rates. Most Ohioans understood. He has protected key priorities.
To date, editorial boards of the Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cincinnati Enquirer have endorsed Kasich. Strickland has received edorsements from the Akron Beacon Journal and Dayton Daily News.
A compilation of endorsements by Ohio's eight largest newspapers for statewide and Northeast Ohio offices can be found here.