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Ohio passes 200,000 coronavirus cases: Capitol Letter

The Plain Dealer  Cleveland logo The Plain Dealer Cleveland 10/27/2020 Seth A. Richardson, cleveland.com

Rotunda Rumblings

200,000 cases: Ohio had 2,116 new coronavirus cases on Monday, taking the grand total to 200,231. Laura Hancock reports that the number of patients in hospital beds continues a rapid surge as well, with 1,406 hospitalized – a 21% increase from the previous Monday. As Rich Exner points out in his latest mapping post, the trends don’t look great for the state, with cases, hospitalizations and ICU visits on the rise.

Tracers: The state of Ohio will tweak how it does contact tracing, attempting to track coronavirus infections back to their source, Seth Richardson writes. Currently, the disease reporting system only allowed for tracking who infected people possibly spread the virus to, instead of where they may have contracted it.

Big catch: Federal, state and local authorities launched what’s believed to be the largest anti-human-trafficking operation in state history, rescuing 154 victims and arresting 179 men for illegally soliciting sex and other crimes. As Jeremy Pelzer reports, the operation focused on adult sex trafficking in Cuyahoga, Franklin, and Lucas counties; sex solicitation with children in Franklin and Mahoning counties; and saving child sex victims in Southern Ohio.

Served and returned: “State Rep. John Becker, under fire from Attorney General Dave Yost for asking a court to order the arrest of Gov. Mike DeWine, shot back Monday by calling for Yost to resign,” Pelzer writes. “It’s the latest salvo in what’s become an increasingly farcical battle of legal filings involving mentions of werewolves robbing liquor stores, accusations that DeWine’s coronavirus policies constitute acts of terrorism, and requests by Becker and Yost for judicial sanctions against each other.”

King Coal: Murray Energy founder, CEO and president Bob Murray died Sunday morning, the Associated Press reports. Murray was heavily involved in Republican politics both in Ohio and across the country. The company released an obituary of its namesake founder on Monday.

Care package: As expected, the Ohio Controlling Board on Monday approved $419.5 million in new allocations of the state’s share of federal CARES Act coronavirus relief money. The money will go to small businesses, colleges and universities, bars and restaurants, hospitals, nonprofits and everyday Ohioans, in the form of mortgage and rental assistance. The governor’s office has a breakdown here. DeWine announced the funding in a news conference on Friday.

Gibbs faces longshots: Holmes County GOP Rep. Bob Gibbs is facing two longshot challengers seeking his job representing a congressional district that includes parts of Medina, Lorain, Huron, Richland, Stark and Tuscarawas counties and all of Ashland, Coshocton, Holmes and Knox counties, writes Sabrina Eaton. Two years ago, he won re-election by more than 17 points against a Democrat who outspent him by $1 million.

Follow the money: Both GOP Rep. Steve Chabot and Democratic challenger Kate Schroder, who are locked in a close race for Ohio’s 1st Congressional District in Cincinnati, have raised quite a bit of cash, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Scott Wartman reports. That includes a majority of both candidates' money coming from outside the state.

Suburbia: The New York Times podcast “The Daily” traveled to Ohio for Monday’s episode and spoke with Katie Paris, the leader of Red, Wine and Blue, about the massive shift in suburban women this election cycle. Red, Wine and Blue had been building a coalition of suburban women long before the pandemic took root, especially focusing on social media to bring women together for political action – many of whom have never been politically active before.

Yinzer: Trump campaign senior adviser Bob Paduchik has been leading the campaign in Ohio, but is being moved to Pennsylvania in the final week, according to the campaign. Campaign Manager Bill Stepien told reporters that they were confident in their standing in Ohio and wanted Paduchik to help in the neighboring state, which is also crucial to Trump’s re-election chances.

Cotton swab: Sen. Tom Cotton, an Arkansas Republican, apparently doesn’t want to wait for the 2024 presidential election to commence before dipping his toes in, the Associated Press' Andrew Demillo reports. Cotton has begun running ads in several key swing states, including Ohio, even though he has no Democratic challenger in the 2020 election.

Holding a fundraiser: Eric Holder, U.S. attorney general under former President Barack Obama, will be a special guest at a virtual fundraiser for Ohio Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner, who is running for Ohio Supreme Court. Holder and Obama are focusing on redistricting this election cycle, hoping to help Democrats. The political party majority of the Ohio court is up for grabs Nov. 3, and the court will inevitably hear redistricting or gerrymandering cases of congressional and state legislative seats after the 2020 Census. Contributions to Tuesday 5 p.m. event will range from $25 to $3,800.

It’s electric: Lordstown Motors, the electric truck startup, is officially going public, the Cleveland Business Journal’s Mary Vanac writes. Shares of the company started trading on the NASDAQ on Monday under the ticker RIDE.

Grounds for recognition: Cleveland’s Lakeview Cemetery and three other locations in southern Ohio have been added to the National Park Service’s National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, Eaton reports. Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown noted that while famous people including President James A. Garfield are interred at the cemetery, “it’s important that we also recognize the great Ohioans interred there who fought for the freedom of their fellow Americans by operating the Underground Railroad.”

Full Disclosure

Five things we learned from the Feb. 18 financial disclosure form of Chris Liebold, a Fremont Democrat running for Ohio House District 88.

1. Liebold’s sources of income included legal services for Albrechta & Coble, as a council member for the city of Fremont, and as a soccer referee for the Ohio High School Athletic Association.

2. Liebold’s investments include a whole life policy with Mass Mutual and a mutual fund through MML Investors.

3. He had a fiduciary relationship as a board member of Misty Meadows Campground Inc., the former secretary of the Fremont Exchange Club and as chairman of the Sandusky County Democratic Party.

4. At some point in 2019, Liebold owed more than $1,000 to Huntington Bancshares, American Express, Citi Bank, Fedloan Servicing and Fremont Federal Credit Union.

5. He listed no debtors or real estate holdings.

Birthdays

Thomas Hayworth, legislative aide for state Rep. Tracy Richardson

Emily Swedberg, legislative aide for state Rep. Bill Dean

Jacob Cox, Ohio’s 28th governor, U.S. interior secretary (1828-1900)

Straight from the Source

“In fact, I suspect Arizona is going to replace Ohio as a national bellwether: As it goes, so goes the rest of the country.”

-New York Times conservative columnist Bret Stephens on how he views politics shifting in America – and also trying to make sure nobody ever buys him a beer again in the Buckeye State.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.

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©2020 The Plain Dealer, Cleveland

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