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U.S. Rep. Johnson talks Trump ahead of hosting Ohio delegate breakfast

By Doug Livingston Published: July 19, 2016

Republican U.S. Rep Bill Johnson and his wife, LeeAnn, met with Donald Trump backstage when the real estate mogul campaigned in St. Clairsville two weeks ago.

“It’s not the same guy,” Johnson said, echoing the impression others have gathered when meeting in private with the billionaire businessman, who can appear thin-skinned and confrontational in public.

On the second morning of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Johnson is hosting an Ohio breakfast featuring Fox News pollster and political messenger Frank Luntz at the Doubletree Hotel in downtown where Ohio's 66 delegates -- and their guests -- to the nominating convention are staying.

Johnson and Trump talked about energy production, manufacturing and the economy in Johnson’s Appalachian corner of the state, which Trump took in the primary while losing the rest of the state to Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

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Terrible choice or no big deal? House Speaker Paul Ryan waves Terrible Towel at Cleveland RNC event

By staff Published: July 18, 2016

Did House Speaker Paul Ryan have a terrible lapse in judgment at recent RNC event or was he just pandering to his audience?

Social media is buzzing after Ryan was seen waving a Terrible Towel in Cleveland.

(You know, Cleveland, Ohio, home of the Browns. As in the Cleveland Browns, rivals of the Pittsburgh Steelers.) 

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Portman extends donation lead over Strickland in nation's most expensive Senate race

By Doug Livingston Published: July 14, 2016

The campaign to send Ted Strickland to the U.S. Senate released fundraising figures Thursday showing that the former Ohio governor raised half as much as his rival in the past three months.

In what has been the nation’s most expensive battle for a U.S. Senate seat, the Democrat continues to trail incumbent Sen. Rob Portman, who reportedly raised twice as much in the second quarter of 2016.

And outside groups continue to influence the race, spending more to attack Strickland than any other candidate for U.S. Senate this election. 

The fundraising figures, self-reported by the campaigns, have not yet been made available online with the Federal Election Commissions. But it’s clear that Portman has added to the $10.7-million lead the Republican held over his challenger at the end of the first quarter.

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Media frenzy fingers Pence for Trump's VP pick

By Doug Livingston Published: July 14, 2016

Ahead of Donald Trump’s anticipated vice presidential pick on Friday, partisan organizations and the media have whipped themselves into a guessing-game frenzy.

With the short list down to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, it’s the last in the line up that’s getting the most attention.

Between 8 a.m. and noon Thursday, 1,905 additional news articles referencing "Mike Pence" appeared online as Google searches for the name jumped nearly eight-fold, according to Google Trends, the company's public data tracking report.

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Trump campaign faces funding challenge in Ohio

By Doug Livingston Published: July 14, 2016

CLEVELAND: A John Kasich delegate and longtime Republican supporter has been charged with financing Donald Trump’s campaign in Ohio.

In a show of solidarity ahead of the 2016 Republican National Convention next week in Cleveland, the Trump campaign joined leaders of the national, state and Cuyahoga County Republican parties to name Edward Crawford the 2016 State Finance Director for Trump in Ohio.

The CEO and chairman of Park-Ohio Holdings Corp. is a delegate bound to a first-round vote for Kasich at the nominating convention. The Mentor man has donated twice to put Kasich in the White House — once this election and in 1999 when Kasich explored but never launched his candidacy.

If Crawford is to squeeze any Trump money from Ohio donors, he’ll need the state’s most prolific fundraisers at his side. But he won’t have Kasich or former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to lean on, at least not publicly. The two, with high name appeal and strong donor networks, have not endorsed Trump.

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Faith leaders go to Cleveland to demand morality in federal elections

By Doug Livingston Published: July 6, 2016

National faith leaders plan to deliver a petition signed by 6,000 faithful, including 1,100 clergy who demand that the Republican Party and conventioneers in Cleveland take higher moral ground than their presumptive nominee.

Specifically addressing Donald Trump and GOP leaders while admonishing bad behavior in a bipartisan fashion, the clergy single out divisive, xenophobic, war-mongering and racist remarks in their call for senatorial, presidential and gubernatorial candidates to advance and “embrace a Higher Ground Moral Agenda.”

“The Higher Ground Moral Declaration calls on our political system to rise above hatred, fear, and left and right politics, in order to reach our highest values of love and justice,” said Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach, architect of the Moral Monday Movement in North Carolina, pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church and the North Carolina NAACP president.

Barber also criticized Christians who flout the teachings of Jesus Christ.

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Yes, there's an app for the RNC

By Doug Livingston Published: July 6, 2016

Going to Cleveland for the Republican National Convention? There’s an app for that.

Convention planners launched Wednesday the RNC 2016: Official App. The program is downloadable for mobile devices through the Apple Store or Google Play store.

Those attending the convention can get turn-by-turn directions inside and around Quicken Loans Arena, where the bulk of the convention will be held from July 18-21. Those who can’t make it downtown can watch GOP speeches and get a 360-degree view of the festivities in real time.

The app promises “gavel to gavel” live streaming of the convention proceedings. Signage encouraging visitors to download the app will be placed at the Convention Center, Quicken Loans Arena and the Cleveland-Hopkins International Airport.

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Kasich to campaign for presidential primary rivals, not Trump

By Doug Livingston Published: June 29, 2016

Since dropping out of the presidential race, Gov. John Kasich has raised money for his former rivals, critical congressional races and a past Republican presidential nominee.
But he has not raised a dime for Donald Trump. And the billionaire, who trails presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in fundraising and campaign staff, hasn’t asked him to.
Kasich spokesman Chris Schrimpf said Wednesday that the governor is filling empty slots in his schedule with fundraising appearances for GOP leaders who hope to hold majorities in both chambers of Congress.
And with the Republican National Convention three weeks away, Kasich still has no plans to speak there, a custom of sitting governors in states that have held past conventions.
With the exception of a tropical storm sidetracking Florida Gov. Rick Scott from attending the 2012 RNC in Tampa Bay, every host governor this millennium has spoken, usually on the last day.
Kasich, refusing Trump’s demand that convention-headliners must endorse him, said this week that he has no plans step onto stage, though he will be “in and around Cleveland” during the coronation of the party’s standard bearer.
Since Trump emerged the primary victor in early May, Kasich has raised money for Sen. John McCain (the 2008 GOP presidential nominee), Sens. Rand Paul and Marco Rubio (fellow GOP presidential candidates this election), House Speaker Paul Ryan (who has rejected pleas to run against Trump) and the National Republican Congressional Committee, which is coordinating with Ryan to support candidates in key races.
But Kasich will not have to leave Ohio to help his primary beneficiary.
“The most important race to the governor this year is [Sen.] Rob Portman,” Schrimpf said. “So he will be doing everything he can here in Ohio to make sure Rob Portman wins.”
Portman’s prolific fundraising, which began five years ago, puts Democratic challenger and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland at a disadvantage. Portman has spent nearly $2 for every $1 Strickland has expended. Attacks by outside groups follow the same trend, favoring Portman. And the incumbent Republican has million in ad buys reserved over the coming months.
Meanwhile, three polls this month have the Senate race tied or Portman ahead by no more than a percentage point.
Portman will be in Cleveland for the convention from July 18-21. But like the governor, he has not yet agreed to participate in Trump-approved activities inside Quicken Loans Arena. The first-term senator instead has made yet-to-be-announced plans to hold his own program outside the arena.
Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 or Follow on Twitter: @ABJDoug.

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Cleveland lawmaker qoutes LeBron on U.S. House floor

By Doug Livingston Published: June 22, 2016

Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Cleveland, took time during regular session Tuesday to praise the Cleveland Cavaliers victory.

Borrowing a minute of speaking time from the Speaker of the House, Fudge quoted LeBron James: "In Cleveland, nothing is given. Everything is earned."

"Facing a 3-1 series deficit, the Cavaliers beat all odds," Fudge said.

See Fudge's speech here:

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Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor to administer oath to local attorney appointed judge

By Stephanie Warsmith Published: June 22, 2016

Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor will administer the oath of office for local attorney Scot Stevenson as a Summit County Common Pleas Court Judge at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The event will be in the atrium of the Summit County Courthouse, 209 S. High St. A reception with refreshments will follow.

Stevenson was appointed by Gov. John Kasich to fill the vacancy created when former judge Tom Parker became a federal magistrate in March. Retired Judge Judy Hunter has been handling Parker's docket since he left.

Stevenson, a Republican, will run in the November election to retain the seat for the remainder of Parker's term, which ends in 2021. His Democratic challenger will be Akron Municipal Court Judge Joy Oldfield.

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