Strickland spends time in Ironton

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Ted Strickland should have had some idea what kind of response he would get in Lawrence County when he pulled into the parking lot of Spare Time recreational center and saw a car with a license plate that read “Ted 4 Gov”.

The car wasn’t his. It belonged to one of approximately 100 Lawrence Countians who gathered to greet him and the man he has endorsed to replace him in Washington, D.C., fellow Democrat Charlie Wilson.

Speaking briefly at a rally four days before the primary election, Strickland told voters that sending him to Columbus as governor would end years of “mismanagement, incompetence and corruption and in some cases out and out criminal behavior.”

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“Ohio is ready for a change,” Strickland said. “We need to clean up and then we need to clean house.”

Although he is facing Bryan Flannery for the democratic nomination, Strickland’s verbal arrows were clearly aimed in the direction of Attorney General Jim Petro and Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell, who seek the Republican nomination for governor. He will face the victor of that race in November and he was eager to paint both men with the same brush that tarnished outgoing Governor Bob Taft.

“I know a lot of good Republicans are embarrassed by the leadership in their party,” he said.

Strickland is apparently hoping some of his popularity with southern Ohio voters will rub off on Wilson, who traveled with him on several stops throughout the region Friday.

Wilson said he is aware that Republican candidates for the sixth congressional district are not only attacking each other during the primary, they are spending big bucks to attack him as well.

“They’re trying to do everything they can to stop me,” he said. “That’s because they’re seeing an energy in the Democratic party they have not seen in a long time. They’re thinking that if they can stop Charlie Wilson in this primary they can win it and they’re right.”

Violete Fraser and her husband Ronald, from South Point, were among those who lined up to meet the two candidates.

“We’re Ted supporters,” Violete said matter-of-factly. “He’s honest. I trust him.”

“You can’t trust but a few politicians these days,” Ronald agreed.

Why do Violete and Ronald like Ted?

“He supports veterans and that’s our number one thing,” Ronald said. “Without the veterans we wouldn’t be here today.”

Sandra Burns, with the Pipefitters Local 248, of Ashland, Ky. was another one who lined up in the Spare Time parking lot to see the candidates. While Burns works in Kentucky she lives in Ohio and said she will vote for Strickland.

“The Pipefitters shared a building with him in Portsmouth and he is working people friendly,” she said. “He supports the working people of the state.”

Both the Frasers and Burns said they knew little if anything about Wilson but would likely support him, too, next week. Both said if the St. Claisville native is good enough for Strickland, he’s good enough for them.

“I don’t know about Wilson,” Violete said, “ but I’ll take Ted’s word for it.”