ST. MARYS — 2018: the year to change one-party rule.
That was the message on display at the Auglaize County Democratic Party’s fall dinner Thursday night where local Democratic candidates stumped and rallied their base to not just vote, but to also volunteer, set up signs and spend time knocking on doors.
Two weeks remain before the polls close, and politicians on both sides of the aisle have been hosting events across the region to increase enthusiasm for the midterm election. But while Republican parties throughout northwest Ohio can often rely on high voter turnout, Democratic parties face a steeper challenge due to years of Republican control throughout all three branches of state government.
To be heard through the political noise generated by the election cycle, local Democratic candidates are shaking up how they present themselves — focusing on attacking the “corruption of Columbus” while separating themselves from some of the rhetoric coming from Democrats on the national level.
During a rally hosted by Auglaize County Democrats, Aden Baker, Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 82nd House District, contrasted himself with the seat’s incumbent, Rep. Craig Riedel, who Baker said has spent his freshman year in the General Assembly making friends and getting committee assignments.
“I’m not here to make friends. I’m here to make change,” Baker said.
Baker used his own home town of Grover Hill in Paulding County as an example of the state’s misuse of unfunded mandates, pointing to a $2 million mandated project that put the small municipality in a fiscal emergency.
In a similar vein, Baker highlighted the House’s “rainy day” fund — its $2.7 billion surplus — that Baker said should be used to help municipalities react to the opioid crisis. Such examples, Baker said, show a state government not connected to the needs of its people.
Both Janet Garrett, candidate for Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, and Joe Monbeck, candidate for Ohio’s 84th House District, repeated similar campaign messaging.
“A lot of people’s eyes have been opened to what actually goes on in Columbus. A lot of people have heard about the culture of corruption in Columbus,” Monbeck said. “I know Mercer County and Auglaize County Democrats will be focusing on telling what’s actually going on in Columbus.”
While Garrett’s target may not be Columbus, corruption remained a major talking point.
“You know I really find fault with the Republican leadership in this country for not serving as a check on this president. And this is the reason why we got to flip the House, and I really sincerely hope we can flip the Senate, too. I’m seeing so much energy where we go, I won’t be surprised if we flip both,” Garrett said.
“We’re putting a spotlight on the statehouse and (residents) want their elected officials to represent them and not special interests,” Monbeck said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.