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Citizens United Spends Big in Ohio

by Dave Levinthal

Citizens United, the conservative political organization best known for the eponymous Supreme Court decision that last year altered the nation’s campaign finance landscape, will on Thursday begin blasting six-figures worth of advertisements throughout Ohio in support of limiting most state workers’ collective bargaining rights.

The ads, which are slated to target the Cincinnati market in particular, urge voters next week to support Issue 2, a referendum on killing a collective bargaining-curbing bill passed by the state legislature and signed by Gov. John Kasich (R).

Recent polls indicate Issue 2 is likely to fail, which would be a boon for Democrats and unions stung throughout the year in several Midwestern states where Republican lawmakers have targeted collective bargaining rights in the name of balancing budgets.

Conservatives face “an uphill battle” on Ohio’s Issue 2, Citizens United President David Bossie acknowledged.

“But this is why we’ve decided to get in and play a role right at the end to educate the voting public and try to persuade them that this is the right way to go,” he said.

In the 30-second ad, which Bossie confirms will cost more than $100,000, an off-camera woman says in a cheery voice as pictures of schoolchildren flash on screen:

“It will permit us to pay teachers based on merit, not just seniority. Reward the best teachers for a job well done. Reform tenure so we can replace the others,” the woman says. “Unions need the right to bargain for wages. But we parents and educators deserve the right to run our own schools. Common sense reforms to help our children and grandchildren.”

The Ohio Democratic Party referred calls to anti-Issue 2 organization We Are Ohio, which panned the ad buy.

“It’s clear that Issue 2 supporters are losing their attack on our everyday heroes in Ohio,” We Are Ohio spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas said. “This is a desperate attempt by another shadowy out-of-state group that refuses to disclose the source of its money … the voters of Ohio stand poised to reject Senate Bill 5 by voting no on Issue 2 because it is unfair, unsafe and will hurt Ohio communities.”

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