The Case Against Matt Carle (Ohio House- 20th District)
Who is Matt Carle? That is a question I asked myself when I heard he was running for the 20th State House district against conservative Bill Todd.
And no, he isn’t THAT Matt Carle.
The more I look into this guy, the more I don’t like. While he has never held public office, he has spent his life as a campaign staffer. His most recent claim to fame is being the campaign manager who lost Mike DeWine’s US Senate seat which is now held by Sherrod Brown, a committed socialist who Republicans used to know how to beat even with a crummy candidate like Bob Taft.
For a more complete view of who Carle is, here is a copy of his resume obtained through a public records request:
Carle Records Request
As you can see, he worked for some big names at higher levels of public office and as a campaign manger. Unfortunately, they all are rather liberal Republicans, including Betty Montgomery and George Voinovich.
And now he is campaigning for the 20th State House District of Ohio, a district formerly held by a friend of mine, Jim McGregor, who is also the long-time former Mayor of Gahanna. And Carle is doing so while telling members of the Franklin County Central Committee that he is a REAGAN REPUBLICAN.
Carle can say what he wants because he has no voting record, but I think his actions speak louder than words. Betty Montgomery, for example, was vehemently opposed to gun rights and was a supporter of abortion. The issue became so difficult that Lee Fisher, faced with what would become an electoral upset, had to fly in Gloria Steinem to tell voters that Fisher was somehow slightly more pro-abortion than Betty was.
And then there is George Voinovich. You know, the guy who literally cried on the floor of the Senate over the nomination of John Bolton to the United Nation. You know, the guy who went on Sean Hannity to talk about how much he loves the fairness doctrine. You know, “Pop Tax” George, who filled a $1.5 billion budget deficit with raising taxes on soft drinks, tobacco, beer, wine, spas, and country clubs. And even as Ohio’s outgoing senior Senator, he was busy in 2009 urging Gov. Strickland to raise taxes.… and Strickland took him up on his idea.
I heard from my former Blackwell co-workers that they had a number of terrible run-ins with Carle serving as George’s campaign manager. The worst incident involved Ken Blackwell running ads encouraging Ohioans to …. GASP… support President Bush’s tax cuts by calling Voinovich’s office asking him to re-consider his opposition. Carle was so furious, he demanded that the Ohio GOP do everything in its power to stop Ken. Reportedly, Chairman Bennett’s response to Matt was, “What do you want me to do? Tell Ken Blackwell he can’t support our President?”
Is it unfair to tie a political hack to his employers’ political views? Perhaps, but why would someone spend so much time working on behalf of political positions that seem better suited for Democrats? And, isn’t it also a tad silly for someone to spend his life working against many of the same principles he now claims to have?
Now, as he runs for the State House, it has become apparent he was chosen to run by Chairman Doug Preisse, who also got his start working for Voinovich while still in college.
I’m new to Franklin County so my perspective on the county party is limited. But much of what I see I don’t like. They are so bad at winning elections that they give awards to campaigns for losing only slightly. And because Preisse is a lobbyist at at Van Meter, Ashbrook, he is too frequently willing to put his business interests ahead of the party’s. Recent examples include backing off of the anti-income tax hike campaign because various business interests supported the tax, and demanding that Franklin County candidates support the effort to relocate Penn National’s planned casino because competitor MTR gaming is a client (the same gaming company that Mr. and Mrs. Chris Redfern lobby for).
And now, the screening committee that Doug Prisse arranged, which will recommend tomorrow to the Central Committee, was initially set up with all Carle supporters, including Kasich campaign manager Beth Hansen (who worked also worked Voinovich until very recently) and attorney Andy Bowers (who worked with Matt in Betty Montgomery’s office). As you can hear on this voicemail from candidate Mike Elicson’s cellphone, Andy describes Matt as “one of his best friends in the world” and they served in each-others’ weddings. Doug’s idea of a screening committee is essentially taking his preferred candidate’s campaign team and selecting them.
Having these types of issues certainly don’t fit with Robert’s Rules about conflicts of interests. But I can’t blame the Chairman, as this is how politics is done. It isn’t a sport for wimps, and perhaps no one knows that better than Matt, who is currently willing to lie by claiming to various members of the central committee that the Ohio House Republican Caucus support him too. (The caucus’ rule is to never get involved with primaries.)
However, there is a principled conservative in this race: Bill Todd, who has spent a lifetime working in the conservative movement and recently made Mayor Coleman spend hundreds of thousands on a mayoral campaign that could have been spent by other Democrats throughout Ohio.
I think it would be fantastic if the Franklin County Central Committee decide not to endorse Matt Carle on Tuesday evening. But no matter what happens, with the district being Republican-leaning and in this political environment, voters will be in no mood in May to vote for a principle-less jerk like Matt Carle.