And the Numbers Still Refuse to Add Up
By Brad Friedman on 11/30/2004, 12:30pm PT  

As I mentioned this morning when I beat up on Olbermann a bit, he had a very good report today on his blog about the latest goings on over the weekend in Ohio. He mentions a bit of the potential "news" that Jesse Jackson may or may not have made at a news conference in Columbus on Saturday when he mentioned that "John Kerry supports a full investigation...I talked with John Kerry last night, and he supports the investigation."

And a further nugget, one of several from the report, was this:

Jackson may or may not have also introduced a new rotting fish into the pile of evidence that suggests Ohio did a very lousy job of running an election four weeks ago. "We don't want to be presumptuous, but these numbers in Butler, Clermont, Warren and Hamilton counties are suspicious." Jackson refers in part to what several voters' groups see as the incongruity of an underfunded Democratic candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court, C. Ellen Connally, getting a net 45,000 more votes in Butler County relative to her Republican opponent than Kerry did relative to his. She finished ahead of her party's presidential nominee by 10,000 net votes or more in five Ohio counties; by 5,000 or more in ten others.

It is not unprecedented for a statewide candidate - especially a popular, well-publicized one - to finish "ahead of the ticket." But Connally was a retired African-American judge from Cleveland, and Butler County is as about as far away from Cleveland (on the Indiana border, and 40 miles north of Kentucky) as you can get and still be in Ohio. Moreover, The Cleveland Plain Dealer noted that the Republican candidates in the three Supreme Court races raised 40% more in official campaign funds than did Connally and the other Democrats. The Toledo Blade showed that the fund-raising, and thus visibility, was far more lopsided than even the party documents would suggest: "Citizens for a Strong Ohio, a nonprofit arm of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, raised $3 million to fund TV and radio ads that gave the winners exposure Democrats couldn't match," the newspaper reported on November 4th.

(Note to Mr. Olbermann: It's a blog you're now writing. So please be kind enough to link to the stories you cite so they can be easily and independently perused. Thank you.)

The number mentioned by Jackson above also reminded me of a piece of recent email I received from someone in Warren "Lock Down" County. Here's the relevant passage:

I was in Warren County during the 2000 Gore campaign. We had no money, no supplies and when Gore pulled out 6 weeks ahead of the election our headquarters closed. We did not phone bank or canvass. We did not have a GOTV [Get Out The Vote]. Gore got 28% of the vote.

In 2004 we had two headquarters set up by July. We phone banked, and canvassed, starting in July. We had yard signs, bumper stickers t-shirts, house parties, bonfires, barnstorms, ACT and Moveon.org. We had a booth at every festival over the summer and fall. We caravaned to rallies. When we reached 1000 volunteers we opened a third HQ, and we still had to turn people away because there wasn't enough room. We had our own lawyer and had training sessions for Challenging the Republican Challengers. Our GOTV was from 4 sites and was amazing. Kerry got 28% of the vote after they locked out the press.

Gore got 28% after not even trying and Kerry got 28% after the biggest democratic campaign in Warren County's history.

To verify the general 28% figure used above, here are the Warren County vote totals for 2000 and 2004 directly from the website of Ohio Sec. of State J. Kenneth Blackwell (who --- did I mention? --- was also completely coincidentally the Co-Chair of Ohio's Bush/Cheney Re-Election Committee):

2000 Bush: 48,318 Gore: 19,142
2004 Bush: 66,523 Kerry: 25,399

Yup, nothing to see here...Keep moving, New York Times and all the others...Much Christmas shopping to get done...