Ohio House 24th District incumbent Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard), elected in 2012 after receiving over $650,000 of support from the Ohio Republican Party (ORP), has been promoted in three Party mailers in the past week.
Kunze, hand-picked in 2011 for the new 24th District seat by the Franklin County Republican Party, is being challenged in the May 6 primary by Clintonville architect Pat Manley.
Manley’s campaign is motivated largely by his opposition to Common Core. Activists contacted by Media Trackers indicated that Kunze, who sits on the House Education Committee, is “highly unlikely” to take a stand against Common Core.
Kunze has not cosponsored House Bill 237, the Common Core repeal bill Rep. Andy Thompson (R-Marietta) introduced last July.
During the 2012 cycle, ORP contributed media buys, postage, and other in-kind support to Kunze worth more than eight times the funding her campaign raised. Reports due to the secretary of state later this month will likely show that the Party is spending big to keep its favored candidate in office.
ORP mailings received April 7, April 10, and April 14 bore a predictable theme.
The April 10 ORP mailer, with an ominous “Keep WASHINGTON’S Rules OUT OF OUR SCHOOLS” graphic on the front, was devoted entirely to the topic of education but never mentioned Common Core.
The April 7 and April 14 ORP mailers touted Kunze’s vote for Republican Governor John Kasich’s 2014-2015 budget as proof of Kunze’s “conservative” credentials. Kasich’s budget increased state spending, and cut some taxes while hiking others.
After receiving the first mailer — this reporter lives in the 24th District — Media Trackers contacted Rep. Kunze for an explanation of her positions on Common Core, the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and increasing state spending.
She never replied.
All signs indicate the Ohio Republican Party is spending money to convince Republican voters that Stephanie Kunze, whose value to the Party is that she has no discernible principles, is the ideal candidate for supporters of limited government.
This is how Republican primaries work in Ohio: ORP endorses incumbents who have supported an acceptable percentage of the good, bad, and ugly policies backed by Party leadership, and then works to see those candidates most willing to toe the Party line reelected.
Adding to the incumbent advantage and Party backing, big-government groups like the Ohio Chamber are happy to help like-minded politicians, while National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) and others must weigh the risk of angering ORP bosses when making primary endorsements.
[Editor’s note, 04/15/2014: Trimmed from the third-to-last paragraph a few redundant words that were overlooked at publication & made the sentence grammatically awkward.]