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Sixth District race possible upset

With less than two weeks until Election Day, candidates for Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District are still going strong in their push to gain support.

Democratic incumbent Charlie Wilson will face off against Republican candidate Bill Johnson, Constitution candidate Richard Cadle and Libertarian candidate Martin Elsass on Nov. 2.

Wilson has held the House seat since 2006.

A recent poll that was taken by Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of the Johnson campaign from Oct. 3-4 shows that Johnson had taken the lead by a margin of 46 percent compared to Wilson’s 44 percent. The poll of 400 likely voters has a margin of error of 4.9 percent.

“I think the guy that leads the pack is not the underdog,” Johnson said. This is the first political race for Johnson, who is a retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and is currently chief information officer of a publicly traded manufacturing company.

Despite not having held a political office, Johnson said he is confident he has the skills to represent the Sixth District.

“(I was) born and raised on the farm, learning a work ethic and character, and then serving our country in the Air Force for nearly 27 years, where I learned the leadership skills and putting the country before my own interests,” he said.

Johnson said the issues he is most concerned with are job creation and out-of-control government spending.

“If (the district) wants jobs they need to vote for a businessman that has created jobs, that knows how to balance a budget, that knows how to generate jobs, and that would be me,” Johnson said. “If they want jobs to come back to the Sixth District of Ohio, they need to vote for me, because Mr. Wilson has certainly aligned himself with the job-killing strategies and policies of Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama.”

He also said it was important to “get the federal government off the backs of small businesses” by repealing “Obama Care.”

“Obama Care is going to level $570 billion of additional taxes on businesses. They can’t afford that here at a time when they are struggling to stay alive, many of them.

“And when you’ve got mandates, like that’s in that health care bill, that requires businesses to file a 1099 for any expenditures over $600, my goodness, that is an expensive tax on the backs of small businesses.”

Constitution candidate Richard Cadle said of job creation, “The government doesn’t create jobs. We have to have the private sector that creates jobs and we’re not helping them. We have to restore the economy so they can hire people and grow their business.”

He also said that taxes are detrimental to business growth.

“Right now we have these giant tax burdens coming upon us so naturally you’re not going to grow, you’re going to try and maintain where you are but you’re not going to invest in the future because you don’t know how big that tax bite is going to come on you.”

Cadle said that if he is elected, one of the first issues to tackle in the Sixth District is the economy.

“I see communities that are holding on and are treading water and it’s all because the economy has gone south. The government is part of the reason with their over regulation, the increased taxes and the crazy deficit spending,” he said.

Cadle, who said his guiding principle is the Constitution, said, “I’m not unencumbered by the big party, where you have the party actually buying the vote. I’m self-funded with family and friends, so the only people I owe allegiance to are the people of this district and the Constitution.”

Charlie Wilson, who is running for his third term in the Sixth District, also said that job creation is important.

“I feel that we need to do as much as we can,” Wilson said about job creation.

When Wilson last visited Ironton on his “Built in America” tour, he visited Lawrence County’s biggest industrial park, The Point, along with McGinnis Inc. and Engines Inc.

“They are in position to be expanding and hiring more people. I really think that we can help them a lot with tax breaks that the government is offering and also more access to capital. I think we have some really good opportunities there,” Wilson said.

“I’m one of the ones who voted against cap-and-trade because I believe that we need to have our coal jobs. I just wish we could get more to using clean coal technology, which I think is again one of the answers to our area down in Lawrence County, especially there along the river. There just seems to be every opportunity in the world when you see the barges going up and down the river.”

Wilson also said, “I think we need to get back to making things in America. I’m opposed to outsourcing. My opponent is actually an outsourcer. I’m for making it in America and he’s for shipping it to Mexico or China.”

Johnson said, “Mr. Wilson has not been able to defend his tax and spend policies and his votes with Nancy Pelosi and so he’s attacking me, and his primary attack is that he is claiming that I’ve sent jobs over seas. The truth of the matter is, for the company I work I am the chief information officer, not the chief executive officer, so I don’t make the decisions on where our company does business. We have been an international company since 1981, long before I came to the company in 2006. We’ve been doing business in China since 2005. Our Chinese operation manufactures products in China for sale in Chinese and other Asian markets. In addition to that, we’ve got a manufacturing facility, an operation right here in Ohio, that manufactures products that are also sold in Chinese and other Asian markets. We’ve actually created jobs in Ohio since I came here. It did not cost us a million dollars per job like Mr. Wilson claims he brought with the stimulus program.”

Wilson said he believes his long-term tie to the district puts him at an advantage over Johnson.

“I’ve been a lifetime resident of this district,” Wilson said. “I reside in this district as compared to my opponent who moved to Ohio four years ago. I sort of know the people; I’ve seen our ups and our downs. I feel like I’ve had a very good relationship with the positioning of our office in Ironton.”

“I’ve be able to work hard with Bill Dingus out at the South Point industrial park, recently got them about a $750,000 grant for the park railroad that they have out here which is going to connect the buildings together. We feel that that’s been a significant thing. I’m pleased to have a voted for the renovation of the sewers in Ironton with some of the original stimulus money that we were able to get.”

The race maybe almost finished but both candidates are still trying to gain voters.

“We’re working hard and will continue to work hard between now and Nov. 2,” said Johnson. “I think that if (the district) wants a leader in Washington that will find real solutions to our economic problems and the other ailments of our country then they need to pick a leader with a proven track record of doing exactly that kind of thing, and that’s the track record that I have.”

Johnson said that there will be new TV ads this week, telephone bankings and more direct mailings to go out to specific voters.

Wilson said, “I’ve been working with Governor Strickland on a regular basis as being the predecessor to his former congressional district. I will be spending a lot of time with him as we’re in Marietta and Athens and a couple of different places this weekend and then we’ll continue to work all up and down the river.”

“We have served the people in this district for four years and like the connection we have with them, would like to continue to serve them,” he said.

Wilson also said he is, “looking forward to working our way out of a difficult situation with our economy. We feel like it’s important to work together to try and get things done for America.”

Libertarian candidate Martin Elsass said he believes that people are getting fed up with the major parties and he is offering a lifeline to the Sixth District.

“When you’re digging in a hole, eventually you get in over your head, you have to stop digging and find your way out. The different between Republicans and Democrats is seems is the size of the shovel,” he said.

Elsass said he also has some specific plans to help the district, including repealing the health care bill.

“It creates a mandate, so many fees and fines, for small businesses,” he said of the bill. “It prevents them from being able to grow and employ people. That may take quite a while because in my estimation there should be no other bill that even comes to the floor until health care has been completely repealed.”

He said another objective is to enact his proposal for the 2011 fiscal year.

“In the first year it balances the federal budget. In the second year it begins to produce a surplus. It’s a matter of making major cuts to a lot of agencies and other programs that are completely unnecessary and outside the purview of the federal government anyways.”

Elsass said the Libertarian party wants to return rights to the states so they can govern themselves and remove the federal government as much as possible from individual’s lives.

“I don’t think that either of the major parties have any inclination how to do that because they can’t tax it and they cant spend it. If they can’t tax it or spend it they don’t understand it. Where as myself, and again the Libertarian candidates in general, we tend to understand principles and values and we understand you can’t put a dollar sign on them.”