Capitol Insider: Kasich nonetheless pursuing gun-violence answer — however quietly

Darrel Rowland The Columbus Dispatch

The day after last week‘s Florida school shooting, aides to Gov. John Kasich assured us that he is still trying to solve the gun issue.

But details are skimpy.

Last year, the governor came up with the idea of getting gun-rights and gun-control proponents together in a room to see whether they could come up with an answer to combat the gun violence we‘ve witnessed across the nation.

A group was assembled and met once. But we don‘t know who they are, where they met or for how long. All we know is that, not surprisingly, they didn‘t present any possible solutions.

Kasich spokesman Jon Keeling said the matter is now being pursued mainly by “internal meetings.”

“We‘re still moving forward. There‘s nothing ripe to share.”

Westerville: capital for a day

As Kasich has taken his State of the State speech on the road during the past six years, his administration has transformed the annual gathering from a single speech into a daylong event featuring meetings with cabinet officials and others throughout the area.

But with this year‘s talk, scheduled for March 6 in Kasich‘s longtime former home of Westerville — perhaps 15 miles from the Statehouse — will his administration do the same thing?

Turns out the answer is yes.

Although no schedule has been released yet, cabinet directors will spread out for a variety of events as usual.

When Republicans fight …

A veteran GOP political figure called our attention to a tweet a week ago by a fellow Republican, Stark County state Rep. Christina Hagan. Locked in a bitter battle for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci, Hagan has repeatedly fired verbal shots at GOP primary opponent Anthony Gonzalez, the former Ohio State and NFL wide receiver making his first run for office.

Last Sunday, Hagan tweeted about a drug bust in Cincinnati apparently involving illegal immigrants: “Armando Gonzalez and 2 other suspects have been charged in illegal immigrant drug ring. We need to clean up our streets and secure our borders. Now!”

What‘s wrong with that? Well, here‘s the take on this from our GOP friend, who is not backing anyone in the race: “This is the worse form of race baiting against an opponent I have ever seen!

“Notice how she calls 1 of the 3 suspects “Gonzalez” (her opponent’s last name)? The suspect‘s last name actually is ‘Gonzalez-Rosas‘.

“Finally, is it coincidental that she highlights the Gonzalez-Rosas suspect when all 3 were implicated?  The answer is no.

“This is horrible and racist.”

And then there were … nine

Our running historical comparison of Ohio‘s sprawling gubernatorial field, aided by web producer/political junkie Michael Meckler, shows that Ohio has its most major-party candidates since 1958.

That‘s when Michael V. DiSalle emerged from a pack of seven Democrats, while incumbent C. William O‘Neill won a two-way GOP matchup. DiSalle defeated O‘Neill in the general election.

Interestingly, the partisan breakdown of the 1958 field exactly matches this year‘s: seven Democrats and two Republicans. The Dem side shrank last week with the withdrawal of Connie Pillich, a former state rep from the Cincinnati area whose claim to fame is that she was the Dem who came closest to winning a statewide race four years ago in the GOP sweep of statewide offices.

This year‘s lineup isn‘t quite official; elections boards still must certify the candidates‘ petition signatures before they officially qualify.



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