Somehow the Mitt Romney campaign thought it’d be awesome to stop at a Cincinnati call center for Ohio Issues 2 & 3, and then not endorse a Yes vote on both issues. Since Yes is the obvious conservative choice on two of the most important ballot issues in state history, this created an opportunity for other GOP primary candidates.
In short order, Rick Perry pounced into the new space on Romney’s right:
“As a true conservative, I stand with Gov. Kasich in promoting S.B.5 for fiscal responsibility and job creation in Ohio,” Perry said in a statement to CNN. “Gov. Kasich and the Republican leadership of Ohio are to be commended for their efforts.”
With D.C. union bosses spending millions to smear Senate Bill 5 as unfair, dangerous, and racist, Issue 2 is hardly a sure thing. It’s disappointing that instead of backing reforms which will empower Ohio taxpayers, Mitt Romney handed unions a rhetorical win by dodging a volatile issue that’s behind in the polls.
Here are some key elements of the bill Rick Perry endorsed:
- Issue 2 ends automatic step increases and requires merit pay for public workers.
- Issue 2 requires all government employees to pay 10% of their pension costs and 15% of their health insurance costs.
- Issue 2 ends forced payment of “fair-share” fees for government workers who don’t want to join a union.
- Issue 2 puts a stop to last-in, first-out firing policies, requiring considerations other than tenure when making layoffs.
- Issue 2 does not affect bargaining over wages or working conditions
Issue 3 will shield Ohio citizens from Obamacare’s individual mandate – another weak point for Romney with GOP primary voters.
Will other Republican candidates stand with Ohioans, or will they soft-pedal support for reform precisely when it’s needed most?