Meet dirty Rex.
You don’t want to meet dirty Rex?
Too bad. He wants to meet you. He wants to help you get re-elected to the Ohio Supreme Court, whether you ask for his help or not.
And that folks, was Bob Cupp’s nightmare last week and remains his headache today.
A guy named Rex Elsass.
Someone you’ve likely never heard of, but boy do people know him in political circles.
Elsass has been described as a political operative, a hatchet man and the maker of kings. His immersion into politics began during the Reagan years. While most teenage boys at Mansfield Malabar High School were ogling the blond locks of Heather Locklear on TV, Elsass was adoring the Gipper.
That love for politics would later drive him to become one of the top political ad producers in the nation. He’s a 49-year-old man who owns his own political consulting company, has a Bentley parked at his home, is driven around Columbus in a chauffeur-driven Cadillac Escalade, and travels across the nation in a company jet.
Elsass and Ohio Republican Chairman Bob Bennett apparently didn’t like the fact that polling shows Bob Cupp’s race against Democrat Bill O’Neill is a tossup. Thus, Elsass put together an advertisement last week saying O’Neill sympathized with rapists in his role as a judge.
Cupp has been trying to explain ever since.
“I had nothing to do with that ad,” Cupp said during a telephone conversation Saturday afternoon. “I heard the party was raising money for me, but I never OK’d that ad. Suddenly it airs as an independent ad, which doesn’t need my approval. I didn’t see it until it was on the Internet. I can’t tell you the words I used when I saw it.”
Cupp apologized to Democrats and immediately asked the state Republican Party to pull the ad, but party officials said they had no plans to do so. Meanwhile, the Ohio State Bar Association said the ad violates its standards by harming the integrity of the judicial system.
“I get more and more upset as I think about this,” Cupp said. “I’ve never ran a negative ad in my life. People will think I had something to do with this. ”
Elsass apparently doesn’t care what Cupp thinks, as long as Republicans retain the seat. He’s long been known to believe the end result justifies the means for getting there.
Twenty years ago, Elsass was a ringleader of a GOP dirty-tricks group labeled the “nasty boys.” Elsass later became a Republican state party chairman. The consulting business followed in 1994. It is now employee-owned and has 23 full-time staffers and a client list that has included Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, Newt Gingrich and John Kasich.
One name not on that list is Bob Cupp.
The Allen County resident wants to win his Supreme Court race, but wants to do it the right way.
“I haven’t heard anybody say they saw the ad on TV. I can only hope they keep it off the air now.”
ROSES AND THORNS: A man wearing a lime green rubber suit and another man craving some Miller Hi-Life find themselves in the rose garden.
Rose: To Deb Thomas, a guidance counselor at Elida High School. She was named educator of the year by the Elida Optimist Club.
Rose: To Ed Hower, a battalion chief for the Lima Fire Department. He was named firefighter of the year by the Lima Noon Sertoma Club.
Rose: To Bill Sullivan, George Dunster and Martha MacDonell, who were recipients of awards presented at the inaugural Arts Advocacy Luncheon.
Thorn: Gun sales have shot up around the area as people fear new gun laws and restrictions if President Barack Obama wins a second term. The irony is nothing Obama did during his first term indicated gun restrictions were on the agenda.
Thorn: A man wearing a lime green rubber suit that covered his entire body jumped out of a car on Robb Avenue and ran toward children yelling “unzip me.” When a woman yelled at him, he hopped back in the car as it sped off.
Thorn: After being told it was past the hour that the Gold Star Gas Station could sell him a 12-pack a beer, the customer decided if he couldn’t buy the brew he would just take it and vanished out the door with his Miller Hi-Life.
PARTING SHOT: Confidence is the feeling you have before you really understand the problem.
Jim Krumel is the editor of The Lima News.