Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Anti-Union Outfit Double Down on GrannyGate

Jim West/ZUMAPRESS.com.

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.

A group defending Ohio Republican Gov. John Kasich’s anti-union bill, known as SB 5, sparked controversy this week when it grabbed footage from an opponent’s ad supporting a repeal of the legislation bill and then used that same footage in an ad fighting the repeal. At the center of the debate is Issue 2, a ballot referendum on Kasich’s bill to curb collective bargaining rights for public-sector unions. Ohioans vote on the referendum in early November. Marlene Quinn, the grandmother whose pro-workers rights comments were skewed to look like she supported Kasich’s bill, called the tactic “dishonest and downright deceitful,” adding that she felt “violated”; at least 30 TV stations in Ohio have pulled the ad. Politicos have dubbed the controversy “GrannyGate.”

Gov. Kasich, however, stands behind the group that cut the controversial ad, Building a Better Ohio. Referring to the group’s tactics, Kasich told the Columbus Dispatch this week that “what they’re doing is fine.”

Building a Better Ohio, whose staff includes Kasich’s former chief of staff, has repeatedly defended the fairness of the ad and the tactics used to make it. “We’re certainly not taking the ad down,” spokesman Jason Mauk told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We absolutely stand by it and our right to air those arguments. Opponents of Issue 2 used a personal story to make a political argument, and we believe we’re entirely justified in using that same story to advocate for the reforms of Issue 2.” Mauk added in a different statement, “We’re absolutely not conceding our position. We have every right to broadcast this ad. The person featured in the ad is a public figure.”

Here’s the first version of the ad, put out by the pro-union group We Are Ohio:

Here’s the recut version, from Building a Better Ohio:

Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, told the Associated Press that Building a Better Ohio’s ad was “really as blatant as anything I’ve seen.” He added, “It will say something about the character of the governor and others, if they do not, in my judgment, step up and very publicly say that this is wrong and disassociate themselves from it… I think it could be the turning point in the campaign, quite frankly.”

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

REAL QUICK, REAL URGENT

Minority rule, corruption, disinformation, attacks on those who dare tell the truth: There is a direct line from what's happening in Russia and Ukraine to what's happening here at home. And that's what MoJo's Monika Bauerlein writes about in "Their Fight Is Our Fight" to unpack the information war we find ourselves in and share a few examples to show why the power of independent, reader-supported journalism is such a threat to authoritarians.

Corrupt leaders the world over can (and will) try to shut down the truth, but when the truth has millions of people on its side, you can't keep it down for good. And there's no more powerful or urgent argument for your support of Mother Jones' journalism right now than that. We need to raise about $450,000 to hit our online fundraising budget in these next few months, so please read more from Monika and pitch in if you can.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate