OHIO 20 Electoral Votes

Because of its importance to both campaigns, Ohio was seen as the Florida of 2004, a must-win state.  The candidates made frequent visits, and the campaigns and their allies poured in resources.  In contrast to 2000, when Al Gore made his last visit to the state on October 4, Sen. Kerry campaigned in Ohio right up to the end, making nine visits in the final month leading up to Election Day.

It is an oft-cited fact that no Republican has ever won election to the White House without carrying Ohio.  The underlying terrain appeared favorable to Republicans; they controlled the governorship, 12 of 18 U.S. House seats, and both U.S. Senate seats.  However, the state of the economy was a significant issue, and Democrats and their allies pounded away Bush on that subject.  For example, "Ohio Jobs," an ad by The Media Fund run in late September, noted that, "Under Bush and Cheney Ohio has lost two hundred and thirty thousand jobs while they give no bid contracts to Halliburton."  One of the most effective ads on the Republican side, and indeed of the campaign, Progress for America Voter Fund's "Ashley's Story," featured an Ohio protagonist, Ashley Faulkner of Mason, who lost her mother in the September 11 terrorist attacks.  On the ground, America Coming Together reported knocking on over 3.7 million doors, engaging people in over 1.1 million conversations at the doors, making over 3 million phone calls, mailed out over 2 million pieces of mail, and deploying over 13,000 individuals  on Election Day, as well as an aggressive absentee ballot program.

In contrast to the Republicans, who were building their organization steadily throughout late 2003 and 2004, Democrats had their primary on March 2 and then, aside from a few visits, were quiet; the first staffers arrived in mid-May and the Coordinated Campaign director didn't start until August.  A total of  $9,575,000 was raised for the Democratic Coordinated Campaign in Ohio, including transfers from the DNC totalling $5,450,000.  (In addition the ODP raised about $5,000,000 for local and state campaigns).  A staffer on the Ohio Democratic Coordinated Campaign summed up the Democratic effort thusly:

We put together the strongest, largest, and most comprehensive field team in Ohio ever for any presidential campaign.  We turned out record numbers of voters for John Kerry and exceeding our vote goals across the board.  But the reason we lost is because they were able to mobilize record numbers of Republicans in conservative rural areas regarding the gay marriage issue.  There were questionable tactics occuring including using conservative campaign materials in Catholic Churches and preaching to vote for the moral candidate, Bush, from the pulpit.  The Kerry campaign and the Democratic party worked very hard to persuade voters, turn them out on election day, and protect their right to vote by ensuring that each vote was counted.  In the end, we had a good plan and executed the plan - but the numbers that we based our plan off of were too low, in hindsight based on what the Republicans turned out.
The Republican grassroots effort ultimately carried the day.  The Bush/Cheney organization included nine regional chairs, 114 county chairs, 12,132 precincts chaired and 85,612 volunteers.  During the course of the campaign (including the 72-Hour program) those volunteers made 3,824,509 calls and knocked on 1,040,602 doors.  The closing five days were particularly intense, as volunteers made close to 1.8 million calls and knocked on over three-quarters of a million doors.

Ohio Bush/Cheney 72-Hour Statistics

Friday, Oct. 29
Saturday, Oct. 30
Sunday, Oct. 31
Monday, Nov. 1
Non-Target Co.s
Oct. 29-Nov. 1
Election Day
Volunteer Calls
Doors Knocked

Intense legal activity in the weeks leading up to Election Day suggested the possibility of Florida-type post-election debacle.  The focus of resources and attention led to high turnout; 925,910 more votes were cast in the race for president than in 2000.

As Election Night progressed the Kerry campaign pinned its thin hopes on Ohio.  At 1:30 a.m. on November 3, Kerry-Edwards campaign manager Mary Beth Cahill released the following statement: “The vote count in Ohio has not been completed.  There are more than 250,000 remaining votes to be counted.  We believe when they are, John Kerry will win Ohio."  The numbers soon became all too clear to the Kerry team and early on the afternoon of November 3 Sen. Kerry conceded the race.  Pending the counting of 155,428 provisional ballots, Bush had a lead of 136,483 votes.  The results as certified on December 6 gave Bush a plurality of 118,775 votes, which the recount reduced slightly to 118,601 votes.

The Secretary of State reported these initial results pending counting of 155,428 provisional ballots:
Badnarik/Campagna (NP)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
David Keith Cobb (WI)
Other WI (3) 24
Kerry/Edwards (Dem.) 2,659,664
Peroutka/Baldwin (NP) 11,614 (0.21)

The Secretary of State certified the results on December 6; 118,734 of 153,539 provisional ballots (77.3%) were deemed valid and counted:
Badnarik/Campagna (NP) 
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
David Keith Cobb (WI)
Other WI (5)
Kerry/Edwards (Dem.)
Peroutka/Baldwin (NP)

Legal activity continued into the post-election period, a recount of sorts occurred, and investigations were begun.  On January 6 during the special Joint Session of Congress held to certify the Electoral College results, Rep. Stephanie Tubbs-Jones (D-OH), supported by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), rose and announced a challenge to Ohio's electors.  Jones stated she took the action not with "the hope or even the hint of overturning the victory of the President" but in an effort to force Congress to conduct "a formal and legitimate debate about election irregularities."

See also:
Matt Bai.  "The Multilevel Marketing of the President.  New York Times Magazine.  April 24, 2004.
Matt Bai.  "Who Lost Ohio?" New York Times Magazine.  Nov. 21, 2004.
Bush-Cheney '04 Kerry-Edwards 2004
Organization  details... details...
BC'04 State Chair: Gov. Bob Taft
Ohio Valley Regional Campaign Chairperson: Jo Ann Davidson
Campaign Manager: Bob Paduchik
Exec. Director: Darrin Klinger 
Office: 580 S. High St., Suite 160, Columbus

Republican Party of Iowa
State Chair: Robert T. Bennett
Executive Director: Chris McNulty
Director, Victory 2004: David Payne
Office: 211 S. Fifth Street, Columbus

KE State Director: JB Poersch
Comm. Director: Jennifer Palmieri
Office: 2300 W. Broad St., Columbus 

Coordinated Campaign Director: Jim DeMay

Iowa Democratic Party
State Chair: Dennis L. White
Exec. Director: Hanna Greer
Office: 271 E. State St., Columbus

Travel  compare...
Final Month (Oct. 2-Nov. 2, 2004)
George W. Bush - 7 visits (8 days)
Dick Cheney (and Lynne Cheney) - 7 visits (7 days)
Laura Bush (solo) - 1 visit (1 day)
John Kerry - 9 visits (10 days)
John Edwards - 7 visits (8 days)
Teresa Heinz Kerry (solo) - 1 visit (1 day)
Elizabeth Edwards (solo) - 5 visits (6 days)
Eight Months (March 2-Nov. 2, 2004)
George W. Bush - 19 visits (21 days)
Dick Cheney (and Lynne Cheney) - 16 visits (16 days)
Laura Bush (solo) - 5 visits (5 days)
John Kerry - 24 visits (30 days)
John Edwards - 15 visits (21 days)
Teresa Heinz Kerry (solo) - 4 visits (4 days)
Elizabeth Edwards (solo) - 7 visits (9 days)

Newspaper Endorsements
Columbus Dispatch  (10/24/04) >
Cincinnati Enquirer  (10/24/04) >
The Vindicator [Youngstown]
Canton Repository  (10/17/04)
The News-Herald [Lake County]  (10/24/04)
Cincinnati Post  (10/23/04) >
Mansfield News-Journal  (10/24/04)
Times Reporter [New Philadelphia]
The Courier [Findlay]  (10/06/04)
The Advocate [Newark]
Chillicothe Gazette  (10/24/04) 
The Independent [Massillon]  (10/24/04) >
Dayton Daily News  (10/17/04)
Toledo Blade  (10/24/04) 
Akron Beacon Journal  (10/17/04)
Zanesville Times Recorder (10/27/04)
Gannett papers in Ohio:  The Advocate, Newark  ... Chillicothe Gazette, Chillicothe  ... The Cincinnati Enquirer, Cincinnati  ...  Coshocton Tribune, Coshocton  ...  Lancaster Eagle-Gazette, Lancaster  ...  The Marion Star, Marion ... News Herald, Port Clinton  ... News Journal, Mansfield  ... The News-Messenger, Fremont  ...  Telegraph-Forum, Bucyrus  ... Times Recorder, Zanesville.
More Endorsements of Note
Mayor George McKelvey, Youngstown (D) -08/23/04 

Ohio's Five Largest Counties: 2000 and 2004
The five largest counties accounted for 38.78% of the vote for president in 2000 and 38.77% of the vote for president in 2004.  Kerry did very well in the two largest counties, amassing a pluralities of 226,903 votes in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) and 48,548 votes in Franklin County (Columbus), and improved upon Gore's showing in Hamilton County (Cincinnati), but it was not enough.

Cuyahoga County (Cleveland)
Gore/Lieberman (Dem.)
Kerry/Edwards (Dem.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Nader/LaDuke (Ind.)
Others (4+w/in) 5,814 (1.01%)
Others (2+w/ins) 3,674 (0.55%)
12.22% of statewide total
Gore plurality:
167,814 (29.20%) 
11.97% of statewide total
Kerry plurality:
226,903 (33.68%) 

Franklin County (Columbus)
Gore/Lieberman (Dem.)
Kerry/Edwards (Dem.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Nader/LaDuke (Ind.)
Others (4+w/in) 3,492 (0.84%)
Others (2+w/ins) 2,773 (0.53%)
8.81% of statewide total
Gore plurality:
4,156 (1.01%) 
9.34% of statewide total
Kerry plurality:
 48,548 (9.23%) 

Hamilton County (Cincinnati)
Gore/Lieberman (Dem.)
Kerry/Edwards (Dem.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Nader/LaDuke (Ind.)
Others (4+w/in) 2,924 (0.77%)
Others (2+w/ins) 1,730 (0.41%)
8.04% of statewide total
Bush plurality:
42,597 (11.27%) 
7.53% of statewide total
Bush plurality:
  22,937 (5.41%) 

Montgomery County (Dayton)
Gore/Lieberman (Dem.)
Kerry/Edwards (Dem.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Nader/LaDuke (Ind.)
Others (4+w/in) 1,908 (0.83%)
Others (2+w/ins) 1,216 (0.43%)
4.91% of statewide total
Gore plurality:
4,805 (2.08%) 
5.02% of statewide total
Kerry plurality:
  4,626 (1.63%) 

Summit County (Akron)
Gore/Lieberman (Dem.)
Kerry/Edwards (Dem.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Bush/Cheney (Rep.)
Nader/LaDuke (Ind.)
Others (4+w/in) 3,028 (1.34%)
Others (2+w/ins) 1,175 (0.43%)
4.80% of statewide total
Gore plurality:
23,038 (10.22%) 
4.91% of statewide total
Kerry plurality:
  38,029 (13.76%) 

Two counties "changed color:"
-Clark County (Springfield; located in southwest Ohio between Montgomery and Franklin Counties) went from very narrowly favoring Gore in 2000, by 27,984 votes to 27,660 votes, to narrowly favoring Bush in 2004, by 34,941 votes to 33,535 votes.
-Stark County (Canton, Massillon; located in northeast Ohio) went from supporting Bush in 2000, by 78,153 votes to 75,308 votes, to supporting Kerry in 2004, by 95,337 votes to 92,215 votes.

Ohio State Coordinator (volunteer): Julie Coyle of Toledo
5,000 signatures were needed to get Nader on the ballot as an Independent.  On August 18, 2004 supporters turned in petitions with 14,473 signatures to Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell.  Local elections boards reviewed the signatures and found that just 6,464 were valid.  The Ohio Democratic Party hired the Kirkland and Ellis law firm and challenged some of those in an administrative review.  After a hearing on September 21-24, 2,756 of the signatures were declared invalid, leaving the campaign short.  The Nader campaign took the matter to the courts, noting in particular that local election boards had not been using the most up-to-date database in conducting their reviews.  However the Ohio Supreme Court determined that it was too late to make a change.  Absentee ballots had already been sent out; forcing a change “would endanger Ohio’s election preparations."  With less than two weeks until Election Day, Nader then went to the U.S. Supreme Court [press release], but on October 26 the Court declined without comment to take up the matter.  [the documents from Andrew Hyman]  In a final note, write-in votes for Nader are not going to be counted because he did not file a declaration of intent to be a write-in candidate with the Secretary of State within the required fifty days.  The campaign went to court on Election Day seeking a temporary restraining order to prevent officials from not counting Nader's votes, but U.S. District Court Judge George C. Smith denied them stating such a move would "disrupt the ongoing election process."

The 2004 Campaign on the Web--Ohio
www.ohiowomen4kerry.org www.ohiogop.org/News www.ohiodems.org
www.lpo.org www.ohiogreens.org www.ohiocp.org
ohio.actforvictory.org www.ohaflcio.org www.jerryforohio.com
www.voinovichforsenate.com www.fingerhutforsenate.com www.ohiomarriage.com
(The Campaign to Protect Marriage)
(Ohions Protecting the Constitution)

Copyright © 2005  Eric M. Appleman/Democracy in Action.