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The Suburbanite
  • Renacci-Sutton race already in gutter

  • The issue: 16th U.S. House District campaign

    Our view: Legitimate issues are taking a back seat to maintenance

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  • The issue: 16th U.S. House District campaign
    Our view: Legitimate issues are taking a back seat to maintenance
    We thought that the Sherrod Brown-Josh Mandel race for the Ohio seat in the U.S. Senate would be the most negative campaign Stark Countians are exposed to this year.
    And it may well be. It’s early yet, and the millions of dollars that Brown and Mandel are raising can buy a lot of nasty ads.
    But the race between Republican Congressman Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Democratic Congresswoman Betty Sutton of Copley Township for the new 16th District seat in the U.S. House is getting very ugly very fast.
    An email Wednesday from the National Republican Congressional Committee was a stunner. Did Rep. Sutton “have strong words condemning the actions” of the five anarchists, members of Occupy Cleveland, who were arrested in Cleveland for plotting to blow up a bridge in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, the email asked. “Nope,” it went on. “On the contrary, Sutton has embraced the Occupy movement, even missing votes to rally with them in New York City. Sutton’s silence on a plan to potentially harm hundreds of her constituents reveals that her priorities lie with radical, far-left protestors (sic) rather than Ohioans.”
    For good measure, the email said this represented “cowardly silence” on Sutton’s part.
    The leap from the five anarchist members of Occupy Cleveland (who were repudiated by other members of the group) to Sutton’s support for the Occupy movement in general is a classic guilt-by-association tactic.
    And interestingly, we didn’t see any comment from Renacci about the Cleveland arrests until an email from his campaign arrived almost an hour after the NRCC email.
    Meanwhile, a few days earlier, the Sutton campaign jumped into the gutter, too.
    Its email was headlined “Sutton calls on Tax Evader Millionaire Jim Renacci to Return Donation from Citizens United Political Victory Fund.” The email goes on to use the phrase “Tax Evader Millionaire Jim Renacci” or “Millionaire Tax Evader Jim Renacci” three times.
    The issue with Renacci and his taxes was settled before he won his seat in Congress in 2010. He was part of a group of taxpayers that challenged a change in the way income held in trust in S corporations was taxed. They believed it was tax-free, Renacci has said. They lost the dispute, and Renacci paid the tax he owed, plus penalties and interest.
    Sutton’s support for the Occupy movement is fair game in a campaign. So is Renacci’s support for the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court. Why do legitimate issues have to take a back seat to name-calling?
    Will this be a campaign between a “radical, far-left coward” and a “tax evader millionaire”? Or will it be a campaign between two members of Congress who talk constructively about issues that voters care about?
    Page 2 of 2 - We know which campaign voters in the 16th District deserve. Is that what they’ll get?