Government

Strickland Hits GOP on Supreme Court at Dem Stop

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland criticized Senate Republicans for suggesting they might not act on a Supreme Court nominee put forth by Hillary Clinton if she wins the presidency Tuesday.

Strickland, who is seeking the seat held by U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, met with reporters outside the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

Joining Strickland for the get-out-the-vote campaign event were U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni, state Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan and John Dyce, who is seeking the 5th district seat in the Ohio General Assembly.

Republicans, who hold the majority in the Senate, have not acted on the nomination put forth by President Obama to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant with the death in February of Antonin Scalia. They – including Portman — argued that the American people should have a voice in the process through the presidential election.

“It’s shameful. The Republicans have been taken over by the most extreme elements. They’ve nurtured this radical, extremist element within their own party and now we have a Supreme Court that is not full,” Strickland said.

More recently, Republicans, fearing a Clinton victory, have suggested they might leave the seat vacant for the next four years. GOP senators holding that stance include Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of North Carolina and John McCain of Arizona, although a spokesperson later walked back McCain’s comments.

“For them to imply that they might leave that vacancy for four years is unthinkable,” Strickland said. “They ought to be ashamed of themselves.”

Portman has a sizeable lead over Strickland, according to the polls. He has said the new president’s Supreme Court nominee, regardless of who wins the presidency, “should be considered based on the merits of their qualifications,” said Portman spokeswoman Emily Benavides.

Strickland called Portman “deceitful,” that he says one thing in Ohio and does something else in Washington. Among the issues he blasted him for was opposing the 2009 auto industry bailout.

“Can you imagine a senator from Ohio opposing the rescue of the auto industry? Rob Portman sent out a press release on the day that rescue was finalized and he said this was a lousy deal for Ohio,” Strickland said.

An analysis by Politifact confirmed that Portman, who at the time of the bailout was a candidate for Senate, called the General Motors bankruptcy plan — which included the shutdown of plants in Mansfield, Parma and Columbus — a “lousy deal for Ohio” and said the state deserved better. The analysis also showed that Portman said during the 2010 campaign that he would have voted for the bailout but would have liked to see “more conditions.”

Ryan, D-13 Ohio, credited Strickland as being instrumental in in many positive developments in the Mahoning Valley when he was governor, including Vallourec’s new mill in Youngstown, the creation of Eastern Gateway Community College and supporting GM’s Lordstown plant.

A prominent surrogate for Clinton, Ryan called Donald Trump, “unfit” to hold the office.

“He is not the kind of role model we want for our kids and he has no clue what he’s doing on the world stage,” he said. “He will get us into more jackpots than we would want to really live through.”

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.