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Ohio Politics

State treasurer's race gets ugly; Hallett: Adv. is "scummiest"

By Doug Published: October 5, 2010

While State Treasurer candidate Josh Mandel racks up newspaper endorsements and the Plain Dealer raises questions about his opponent's truthfulness, a Mandel television spot has gotten national attention because it has been perceived by some as anti-Islam.

First, the Plain Dealer on Monday reported that Democratic candidate Kevin Boyce's claim that he forced out top staffers because of performance concerns didn't hold up when reporters questioned the people who left Boyce's administration.

Boyce later softened his stance on his former employees' job performance. After he learned a reporter contacted the workers to comment on their departure, Boyce said they all left after a "mutual agreement" was reached.

He also said his comments about the office's high standard for work ethic were made in general and were not specific to any employee.

Meanwhile, there has been criticism of the Iraq war veteran's television spot that some say incorrectly suggests that Boyce is Muslim and handed out job opportunities only at a mosque.

A Toledo Blade editorial today said this about the advertisement:

Josh Mandel, whom The Blade endorsed last week for Ohio Treasurer, has discredited himself with a new TV campaign commercial designed to gain votes by playing on ignorance and fear. He needs to do better.

Mr. Mandel, a Republican, is challenging incumbent Democrat Kevin Boyce. He has raised valid questions about possible cronyism in Mr. Boyce's office. But the TV ad crosses the line between legitimate concern and fear-mongering.

A Columbus Dispatch analysis of the advertisement takes to task a suggestion by the television announcer that a job opening in Boyce's office was "only made available at their mosque" and leaving the viewer with the idea that Boyce is Muslim.

The congregation at St. Paul AME Church in Columbus would be surprised to find out that Boyce is a Muslim and that he attends a mosque. He isn't and he doesn't.

.... But the job was not announced or posted there, Boyce's office says. There were many applicants for the position.

Mandel, who is Jewish, previously used the mosque accusation against Boyce on his website and in a fundraising pitch. It wasn't true then, either.

According to the Dayton Daily News, Boyce has asked Mandel to withdraw the advertisement because the staffer who is the subject now feels threatened at home.

Columbus Dispatch columnist Joe Hallett on Sunday described the television spot this way:

Amid the inanity coming from your television set in 30-second bursts, there is one politician's ad that sticks out as the scummiest so far.



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