Endorsements from Totally Engaged Americans!

With election night a week away, we are happy to share the endorsements made by our members. We decided against a simple 50% threshold in favor of a candidate who receives support of 70% of our members to earn our endorsement. There are two races in Lorain County where support was split between two candidates preventing either one from achieving the 70% mark, leaving a clear favorite in the remaining races. In this VERY important off-year election, voter turnout is incredibly important so please vote and then get others to vote as well.


In one of the most important races in Ohio, we endorse JIM RENACCI Jim Renacci(pictured) for U.S. Senate. While some polling puts him within the margin of error, this seat is rated by every major polling organization as a keep for the Democrats. Renacci was an early 2016 supporter of Donald Trump and would help move his agenda through the Senate. Senators like Elizabeth Warren or Chuck Schumer would not be able to win in Ohio, and there is no reason reason to vote with their fellow liberal simply because of name recognition. Jim Renacci is a clear choice to take over this U.S. Senate seat.

In Congressional races, we endorse the Republicans JIM JORDAN, BOB GIBBS, and STEVE KRAUS (pictured). And although this question is not on the ballot, many of us Steve Krausfurther support Jim Jordan to be Speaker of the House. For too long, Republicans have campaigned on a conservative agenda, and yet even in 2017, our Republican Congress sent a budget that pays for Planned Parenthood but not a border wall. This is unacceptable, and re-electing Jordan and Gibbs will help keep the House in Republican hands. Steve Kraus has a tougher road in taking on a 30+ year incumbent and we must provide all the help we can and change minds and get out his vote in traditionally Democrat areas in Lorain County.


While some conservative groups have made no endorsement in the governor’s race, or Mike DeWinehave suggested voting for the Libertarian candidate, Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County has endorsed MIKE DEWINE (pictured). The current governor has been a wet blanket for many Ohio conservatives and the long intermittently-conservative record of DeWine has caused some concern. Nevertheless, DeWine is clearly the better candidate between the two candidates who are competing for the victory.

The other statewide races fall into place for the Republican candidates, as we’ve endorsed DAVID YOST (Attorney General), KEITH FABER (Auditor), FRANK LAROSE (Secretary of State), and ROBERT SPRAGUE (Treasurer). Each of these positions is important in their own way when it comes to Ohio voting, pending and potential lawsuits, and financial transparency.

For State Representative, we also followed the Republican line by endorsing ROB WEBER (pictured), GAYLE MANNING, and Rob WeberDICK STEIN. Like Steven Kraus, Rob Weber is campaigning in a traditionally Democrat area so please help him with your vote and voice in getting others to support him. Both his experience and his fresh ideas for the district are clearly superior to his opponent.

For State Senator, our members split between Republican Nathan Manning and Libertarian Homer Taft. There was some concern about Manning’s relationship with former Speaker Rosenberger, his ability to oppose potentially liberal policies (like Medicaid Expansion) from either Governor DeWine or Governor Cordroy, and a generic feeling against the Manning family simply switching seats. With Taft, there is certainty that he would vote as a fiscal conservative although his social positions caused others to shy away. Regardless, neither of these candidates achieved the 70% benchmark so we leave this race up to you.

Finally for the Ohio Supreme Court, we endorse CRAIG BALDWIN and MARY DEGENARO. For State Board of Education, our chair Kirsten Hill had put her name on the ballot, however she defers to SUE LARIMER for this important seat.


In the most important race for Lorain County voters, please support and vote for JOHN CIARRONE (pictured, standing right) for County John CiaronneCommissioner. The current Democrat monopoly on the Commission is unchecked when it comes to managing our county tax dollars, and unsurprisingly their answer to any hint of financial problem is to raise taxes. They raised the sales tax after voters rejected it, and they now want more money allegedly for an opioid rehab facility although there is no evidence that these elected characters are capable of supervising and operating it as a county facility. We must begin to change the culture of our county government, and it can begin with John Ciarrone.

For County Auditor, our members split between incumbent Democrat Craig Snodgrass and Libertarian Matt Doran. Members who preferred Snodgrass look to his experience and qualifications, while those who preferred Doran looked at his technology background to streamline tasks and that he is a Libertarian.

For the courts, we endorse JENNIFER HENSAL for Ohio Court of Appeals, and JENIFER BERKI MERRILL for Court of Common Pleas.


Vote NO on Issue 1Our members vote NO on STATE ISSUE 1, the amendment which increases the legal amount of drugs one may possess. This is promoted as a way to get non-violent criminals out of our overcrowded jails, however the answer to that problem cannot be to more permissiveness when it comes to drug volume and availability.

Our members also vote NO on ISSUE 8 and ISSUE 14. Issue 8 raises funds for Vote NO on Issue 14Lorain’s Joint Vocational System and Issue 14 raises funds to create a county-run opioid center. The property taxes and sales tax of Lorain County has gone up very recently and also over the last decade, and there is zero trust or faith that JVS or the Commissioners can spend any new money responsibly. Of course our members understand the need for county services and that they must raise the necessary money to operate. We do NOT believe, however, that our current county commissioners can effectively use the resources that Lorain County citizens are forced to provide through this tax system.


We encourage you and any of your friends and family in Ohio to go to http://www.vote2018ohio.com and download a list of endorsements in your specific precinct. The only difference between our list and the list on this website is our endorsement for Mike DeWine for Governor.

Thank you all so much for your attention and your participation! It is our responsibility to become informed and engaged voters, and by getting through this list of endorsements puts you light-years ahead of many other voters in the county and in the state.

Get out and VOTE and get your friends and family to VOTE as well!

** ENDORSEMENTS from Totally Engaged Americans **

Thanks to ALL of our participating members for adding their voice to our group. Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County strives to educate citizens in federal, state, and local matters so they can be a better informed voter. To that end, we held two candidate forums where we listened to those running for office as well as advocates for the issues that will be on our May 8 ballot. We set a threshold of 70% support where Totally Engaged Americans of Lorain County would make an endorsement of a candidate or issue. After gathering feedback from members, we have these endorsements: Continue reading “** ENDORSEMENTS from Totally Engaged Americans **”

Issue 1 Could Maybe Work


Ohio District Map with 12 red districts and 4 blueFor over 200 years, we’ve complained about gerrymandering for congressional districts. And 200 years later, we’re still complaining about it. In 2015, Ohio voters overwhelmingly supported a commission to address gerrymandering of state districts. Now we have Issue 1 which alleges to put an end to gerrymandering of congressional districts. Will it really create more cohesive districts, or will this be just another empty promise?

The Fair Districts = Fair Elections Coalition has been advocating for this issue by gathering signatures to get it on the May ballot, and now they are speaking to outside groups. Ballotpedia has the full text of Issue 1, and Senate Resolution 5 actually provides more detailed information.

Their campaign relies heavily on the appeal of bipartisanship. As engaged, black-belt voters who are studying this issue, we are naturally and justifiably skeptical of this promise. Past experiences reveal that “bipartisanship” only means that the bipartisan establishment will protect itself from the grassroots. Instead, advocates for Issue 1 should rely on the requirement of COMPACTNESS. No other measure can be more clearly and easily achieved.

Compactness means that districts are geographically tight, preferably in rectangular blocked shapes instead of the dropped plates of spaghetti we have now. It only requires common sense and a simple eye test to see if a district is drawn compactly or if it has tentacles and rabbit trails stretching in all sorts of directions. It does not mean drawing a district that is 120 miles long and only 15 miles wide (Marcy Kaptur’s OH-09). It does not include a district that squirrels through 8 whole and 6 partial counties (Jim Jordan’s OH-04). It looks more like the following computer-generated map at the left.

Two Ohio maps: one with computer-generated ideal districts, other with larger counties are colored

We have to get into SR5 to read what MIGHT be the teeth to requiring compactness.

  • Sec 2 B (5) Of the eighty-eight counties in this state, sixty-five counties shall be contained entirely within a district, eighteen counties may be split not more than once, and five counties may be split not more than twice. The authority drawing the districts may determine which counties may be split.

The five most populous counties (drawn in pink at the right) are Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Summit, and Montgomery. The most populous 18 counties (remaining drawn in beige) have over 130,000 residents and includes Lorain, Medina and Portage. So while any counties could be split based on the commission’s decision, these are examples of which counties can be split if based on population. Most importantly, none of the other 65 counties can be split!

Next, we need to see how much foolishness can be done within these split counties.

  • Sec 2 B 4 (b) If one municipal corporation or township in that county contains a population of not less than one hundred thousand and not more than the congressional ratio of representation, that municipal corporation or township shall not be split. If that county contains two or more such municipal corporations or townships, only the most populous of those municipal corporations or townships shall not be split.

Only six cities have more than 100,000 residents: Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, and Dayton. Every other city, village, and township in the state of Ohio will have a single representative.

With strict rules, even the most corrupt politicians, whether elected or appointed, will struggle to create a grossly imbalanced map. Only in those six populous cities can a neighborhood be split with regard to congressional representation. Even in the counties that are split three different ways, each city other than those largest six will remain intact.

With politicians being who they are, and corruption being what it is, of course there will be instances of slanted districts. It’s also not realistic to expect Republicans to win heavily urban areas or Democrats to win those rural counties by the Indiana border (yet!). It cannot be as bad, however, as the current map which sees Democrats winning their districts with about 70% of the vote and Republicans at least 60%. Democrat voters will be spread out over more districts, and Republicans should prepare to lose their 12-4 House advantage.

And some Republicans will vote against Issue 1 because they will lose this advantage. Some feel that “to the winners go the spoils” and that when Republicans win statewide and legislative races (as they have in 2000 and 2010), they should have partisan reign over the district boundaries to create winnable districts. That’s working with the current map where Democrat House members received 47% of the vote in 2012 but only won 25% of the seats.

But if we are to believe that competition makes candidates better, then why should we reward representatives with a 10-year contract to serve at their own pleasure for simply winning that first redistricted race? Wanting representatives to derive their powers from the people, we cannot give these people, Democrats or Republicans, a 10-year pass on decisions they may make in office. As angry as conservatives have been at the Republicans in the House since 2010, none has ever been close to losing a primary or in the general. The status quo is not just having Republicans create gerrymandered districts, but it also includes some (not all) grassroots conservatives complaining about being powerless to influence their representation.

Remember that in the Gingrich Revolution of 1994, a Republican (Martin Hoke) won the western Cuyahoga County district later won by Dennis Kucinich. Also the Youngstown area has seen about a 10% switch away from the Democrat party, so who’s to say that a Republican cannot win that larger region in the near future.

Unfortunately, Issue 1 is truly a vote where we will “need to pass it to find out what’s in it.” The promise could be delivered upon with a good map. On the other hand, the bipartisan establishment could find loopholes and exemptions for more of the same type of gerrymandering that protects legislators from their voters. Ohioans will choose whether they want change or if they want the status quo. Even if they do want change, maybe there’s a feeling that THIS change is inadequate so they will wait and judge the next proposal. If they think this proposal will bring Ohio representatives more accountable and responsive to their voters, then they should support Issue 1 in May.