In Ohio, long-boiling friction between the McCain campaign and the state Republican Party on a variety of issues reached a new intensity over a complicated local gambling question. The state Republican Party’s central committee had voted to oppose a proposed state constitutional amendment to permit a casino in Clinton County. The state party included its “vote no” view on the “slate card” of recommendations it sends to early voters.
The McCain campaign unilaterally removed that recommendation from the mailer, overriding Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett and threatening to block funds to pay for the printing and distribution. Mr. McCain favors legalized gambling, and his campaign did not want to appear to support it some states and oppose it in others.
The state party worked with the opponents of the amendment to send another mailing, using the pictures of U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich, Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted and Mr. Bennett, along with their words of opposition on the gambling question.
“Why in the world would anyone want to amend the Constitution of Ohio and put a monopoly in for one individual to build one casino in the state of Ohio?” Mr. Voinovich asks in his statement.
Several party officials said they had no problem with the McCain organization.
“We have a pretty good operation with the McCain campaign in Colorado, and I don’t have the same experiences that a lot of other state chairs do with the campaign,” said state Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams, who thinks his state could “go either way” on Nov. 4.
Chief political writer Ralph Z. Hallow served on the Chicago Tribune, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Washington Times editorial boards, was Ford Foundation Fellow in Urban Journalism at Northwestern University, resident at Columbia University Editorial-Page Editors Seminar and has filed from Berlin, Bonn, London, Paris, Geneva, Vienna, Amman, Beirut, Cairo, Damascus, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Belgrade, Bucharest, Panama and Guatemala.
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