The race for state auditor is not typically the stuff of political lore.
But this year’s fight in Ohio features candidates with starkly different visions for the job. Also, they’re running against the backdrop of a massive scandal. And, as with so many races on the ballot Nov. 6, the polarizing presence of Donald Trump in the White House will factor into voters’ pick to run an office tasked with reviewing the performance of government agencies and keeping tabs on how they spend their money.
Ohio Democrats have been largely out of power this decade, but a number of scandals buffeting Capitol Square have them hopeful that will change this year. Zack Space, a former Democratic congressman from Dover sees that as an opportunity to broaden the mission of the auditor’s office to address what he believes are the big ills of our time.
LIMA — Ohio Auditor Democratic candidate Zack Space visited the West Ohio Food Bank as part of his statewide campaign to highlight inequalities he says are a result of a political system catering to “pay-to-play” lobbyists.
Space said many who qualify for food assistance are working poor who may work one or two jobs, but low wages kept low by corporate interests influencing Ohio’s politics keep them being able to purchase quality food. Roughly 60 people visited the food bank Thursday for distribution of fresh produce.
“Millions of qualified are working poor. Many of them are having a difficult time putting food on the table,” Space said. “Our experience has taught us (food banks) are never enough, and the demand seems to be growing.”
The Democratic candidate for the state auditor's office spent his day talking to people around Lima.
Former congressman Zack Space spoke to the Allen County Democratic Women about the state of politics in 2018. He also talked about what he sees as key issues in the race like gerrymandering and the influence of money in Ohio politics. He says he would like to see a return of focus on the people in Ohio rather than party politics.
"Too many Ohioans have been left behind by a political process that cares more about corporate wealth, cares more about political ambition than it does about the average Ohioan," says Space. "My campaign is all about making sure that everybody matters, everybody counts. That's the true hallmark of democracy."
COLUMBUS -- Keith Faber continues to mislead Ohio voters and the media about his long history of abetting Ohio’s for-profit charter school scam -- the biggest political scandal in state history -- which has bilked at least $80 million from Ohio taxpayers.
On Wednesday, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled that the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) acted lawfully when it ordered online for-profit charter school ECOT to repay tens of millions of dollars for unverified student enrollment. Hours later, Keith Faber claimed in the Columbus Dispatch that ODE has had the “long-standing authority to crack down on ECOT,” and that the “Department and Republican leadership properly used this authority leading to the closure of ECOT” -- both brazenly untrue statements.
COLUMBUS – Former U.S. Congressman and Democratic nominee for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space has released the following statement following today's Ohio Supreme Court’s 4-2 decision to uphold lower court rulings that the state acted lawfully when it ordered failed for-profit charter school ECOT to repay tens of millions of dollars for unverified student enrollment.
“The for-profit charter school scam is the biggest political scandal in Ohio’s history," Space said.
"This scam – which bilked Ohio taxpayers out of at least $80 million – was perpetrated by unscrupulous and profiteering corporate executives, and abetted by the self-interested politicians they purchased with campaign contributions.”
The Democratic candidate for Ohio auditor says people have “rightfully lost confidence and faith” in the political process and government — and “the insidious impact of money on policy is something the auditor is in position to call out.”
“The most important difference between me and everybody else is that I’m really focused on one issue, one general issue and it has to do with process,” said candidate Zack Space in an exclusive interview with the Journal-News.
Space said when people lose faith and confidence in the democratic process, “they are more likely to turn to authoritarian figures, and to do things we may not like the end result of.”
COLUMBUS -- Democratic nominee for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space today reported raising $239,331.25 during the July fundraising period from June 16 to August 3. Space’s July report is his second record-breaking filing this election cycle, and marks the fourth consecutive fundraising period in which Space has outraised Republican nominee for Auditor Keith Faber.
“Ohioans are ready to fix their broken political system, and our record-breaking fundraising numbers are there to prove it,” said Zack Space for Ohio Campaign Manager Matt Hennessey. “Zack shares the deep frustration Ohio voters feel towards their rigged political process, which for too long has been controlled by entrenched corporate interests, the wealthy donor class, and self-interested career politicians like Keith Faber.”
Former President Barack Obama took a public step back into the electoral arena on Wednesday, issuing a slate of 81 endorsements for Democrats running in the 2018 elections and giving his stamp of approval to more than a dozen veterans of his administration and election campaigns who are seeking office in their own right.
But Mr. Obama also extended his political blessing to Democrats running far down the ballot, backing legislative candidates in states such as North Carolina and Texas, as well as Democrats running for relatively low-profile offices, including secretary of agriculture in Iowa, state auditor in Ohio and lieutenant governor in California and Illinois.
Gerrymandering is a huge issue in Ohio… in fact, our state has one of the most polarized maps in the country, meaning the voices and votes of our communities go largely unheard. At the Ohio Environmental Council Action Fund PAC, we believe a fair democracy is the first step toward a fair vote on the issues we care about most, including environment, which is why we need a fair Auditor of State who will be a leader on redrawing our district lines in a more accurate way.
Space has made redistricting a top priority and will serve on the redistricting commission to draw better districts for the 2022 election cycle and beyond. As a former Public Defender and Congressman, Space has seen first-hand what redistricting does to a community, especially one that is underserved.
Down in Athens County, not far from the Ohio River and West Virginia border, lies the site of an old, abandoned mine.
If you know where to look, eventually you’ll find it, marked solemnly by a tall historical marker. A ghostly brick smokestack stretches from the Appalachian woods, reaching several stories into the sky.
87 years ago, 82 men were killed when an explosion in that very mine triggered its collapse. The Millfield Mine Disaster, as its known, remains the worst mining disaster in Ohio history.
COLUMBUS -- Former United States Congressman and Democratic nominee for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space issued the following statement Friday morning after the Ohio General Assembly passed two bills this week aimed at increasing oversight of e-schools:
“After allowing Ohio to become the ‘Wild, Wild West’ of charter schools, and derailing attempts at oversight for decades, Keith Faber and his colleagues in the Ohio General Assembly have decided that now is the time to care about oversight of for-profit charter schools. This is nothing more than election-year pandering and an insult to the intelligence of Ohio voters.
COLUMBUS -- Former United States Congressman and Democratic nominee for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space released the following statement Wednesday morning in response to the Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME. The SCOTUS ruling prohibits public-sector unions from charging “fair share” fees from non-union members.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Janus v. AFSCME is a victory for the wealthy special interests who at every opportunity seek to diminish and derail the organized labor movement. This particular case -- launched by a conservative governor, and decided by the inhabitant of a stolen Supreme Court seat -- proves the extent to which our broken political system is rigged to benefit corporations, the professional political class, and their donors at the expense of working people.
“A lot of Ohioans feel left behind in my part of the state, Appalachian Ohio. They are at a competitive disadvantage accessing health care, public education, technology. They don’t see anything being done for them. What they do see is a system that caters to wealth and political greed. They feel left behind because they have been.”
This is true in urban areas as well as in rural area.
That’s where his party needs to focus its attention.
In what might be a tight race for a less than glamorous job, this November Zack Space will have an opportunity to do what no Democrat has done since 1994 – win an election to the Ohio Auditor of State office.
Space, a former U.S. Representative for the 18th Congressional District – which comprises 16 counties in rural southeastern Ohio – sees the Auditor’s office as an opportunity to influence some key issues in the coming years. The office might not be as glamorous as other statewide positions but its influence is huge now and will expand soon.
COLUMBUS -- Democratic nominee for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space today reported raising $271,147.87 during the Post-Primary fundraising period from April 27 to June 15. This marks the third consecutive period in which Space has outraised GOP Auditor nominee Keith Faber, whose sputtering campaign raised a paltry $61,507.79, the lowest total for any major party statewide candidate in a general election in Ohio since at least 2010.
“Keith Faber’s campaign for Auditor of State is in complete disarray. Ohioans are outraged with the deceitful and transactional politics that he embodies, which is why it’s no surprise that Faber raised less this period than any major party statewide candidate in Ohio since at least 2010,” said Campaign Manager Matt Hennessey.
Zack Space, a former Democratic congressman running for state auditor, is right to want further scrutiny of the failed Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow and other for-profit charter schools in the state.
Space announced earlier this week that if he’s elected to the job, he’ll create a specialized task force composed of investigators, auditors and educators to look into whether Ohio taxpayers were ripped off by charter school operators.
He plans to call it the “Stop Charter Abuse and Malfeasance” Special Audit Unit.
Democratic auditor candidate Zack Space says that if elected, he’ll audit all of Ohio’s for-profit charter schools and that he’ll take a thorough look back at the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow — a politically connected operation that collapsed in a wave of scandal earlier this year.
Space, a former congressman from Dover, plans to create a Stop Charter Abuse and Malfeasance, or “SCAM,” Unit.
“The for-profit charter school scam is the largest political scandal in Ohio’s history, affecting all 88 Ohio counties and virtually every single taxpayer,” Space said in a written statement.
COLUMBUS -- Former United States Congressman and Democratic nominee for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space released the following statement Wednesday afternoon upon the 11th-ballot election of Ryan Smith as the new Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives.
“The fiasco that unfolded today in the Ohio House of Representatives is an embarrassing reminder of why so many Ohioans view their government with distrust and frustration. Instead of public officials working together in good faith to better the lives of their constituents, Ohioans see career politicians playing politics and waging internal power struggles over which faction is able to control campaign war chests. It’s a disgrace.
FINDLAY -- Democratic state auditor candidate Zack Space on Tuesday portrayed his Republican opponent, Keith Faber, as too cozy with money interests to become the state’s chief financial watchdog.
Faber has received a lot of campaign contributions from the now-bankrupt, scandal-ridden online charter school ECOT (Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow), Space said during a campaign stop in Findlay.
Years ago, a bill came before the Ohio Senate to correct attendance reporting problems with charter schools. Faber, Senate president at the time, should have assigned the bill to the Senate’s Education Committee, Space said.
Democratic candidate for state auditor Zack Space was in Findlay Tuesday to talk about his campaign. Space said that his Republican counterpart Keith Faber is too cozy with money interests to serve the state as the auditor.
Space said that this cost public schools over 80 million dollars that went to the now-bankrupt ECOT.
Space added that he wants to use the position to help address the opioid epidemic.
Ohio auditor candidate Zack Space (D-Dover) came to Russell Township May 17 to talk about his race, as well as the role of the state auditor.
Speaking to a small crowd at the May 17 Geauga County Democratic Party “Spaghetti with a Hot Topic” event, Space said a lot of people in Ohio are disillusioned, disappointed and frustrated with politics.
“The feeling of having been left behind is real and justified,” Space said.
He told the group his grandparents came to the United States from Greece to escape Turkish occupation, and because of the opportunities America offered. The public needs to have an “honest conversation” about what has happened to those opportunities, he said.
COLUMBUS -- Former U.S. Congressman Zack Space last week received the endorsements of the Ohio Association of Professional Fire Fighters, the Ohio State Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in his campaign for Auditor of State. Together, these labor unions represent tens of thousands of workers across Ohio.
Space also delivered remarks to union members at rallies in Youngstown and Marietta during last week’s “Take Back Ohio” tour, organized by the Ohio AFL-CIO.
“For generations, Ohioans could count on labor unions for good jobs, decent wages, and the ability to retire with dignity. Union jobs have propelled millions of people into the middle-class, yet ideological politicians like my opponent Keith Faber would rather curtail bargaining power than allow this prosperity to continue.
COLUMBUS – Former U.S. Congressman and Democratic candidate for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space has released the following statement after PolitiFact determined that Republican nominee for Auditor of State Keith Faber misled Ohioans with a statement that claimed Faber helped shut down ECOT.
“Keith Faber has spent decades in the Ohio Legislature enabling the for-profit charter school industry and abetting the ECOT scam – the biggest political scandal in Ohio history. Faber had 18 years as a legislator, including four years as Senate president, to tighten accountability, increase oversight and protect Ohio taxpayers from ECOT’s fraudulent activity.
Former U.S. Congressman and Democratic nominee for Ohio Auditor of State Zack Space released the following statement today after Ohio Auditor Dave Yost’s audit of the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) became public.
Yost also announced that he will donate the $29,395 he accepted from ECOT founder Bill Lager to charities in central Ohio.
“Auditor Yost deserves no credit for his long overdue audit of ECOT, which simply corroborates the allegations of criminal conduct made by a whistleblower over a year ago,” Space said in a news release to The Highland County Press.
COLUMBUS -- Former U.S. Congressman Zack Space, candidate for Ohio Auditor of State, released the following statement Monday afternoon in light of the Columbus Dispatch’s report that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow (ECOT) spent public monies on political advertisements.
“With each passing week, Ohioans are treated to ever more disgraceful details about ECOT’s scam to defraud taxpayers. Last week the Toledo Blade reported that ECOT attempted to use taxpayer funds as hush money to silence departing employees. Today, we learned that ECOT likely violated state law by funding political TV ads with taxpayer money. These latest revelations add to the imperative need for a broad and wide-ranging criminal probe into ECOT and [ECOT founder] Bill Lager.”
ZANESVILLE, Ohio - A Democratic candidate for Ohio Auditor spoke outside of Zanesville High School.
Former U.S. Representative, Zack Space spoke about former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow also called ECOT. Space said ECOT is a prime example of money corrupting Ohio politics.
“The auditor is a critical role in the integrity of government and (if elected) I intend to make sure everybody, regardless of where you’re from, what your zip code is, how big your bank account balance is, how much money you’ve given to politicians, everybody should be represented by their government in Columbus. And I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that happens,” said Space.
COLUMBUS -- Former United States Congressman Zack Space, candidate for Ohio Auditor of State, released the following statement on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 -- the one-year anniversary of the ECOT whistleblower contacting the Auditor of State’s office to report misdeeds by the failed for-profit charter school.
“Yesterday’s news that the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow pushed departing employees to sign non-disclosure agreements is yet another indication that school officials knew their actions were suspect and perhaps illegal. Ohioans should be outraged at ECOT’s use of taxpayer monies to silence potential whistleblowers.
A candidate for state auditor was in Lima Thursday afternoon, talking what he called "corrupt culture" on Capitol Square.
Lima was one of the stops that Democrat Zack Space made over the day, traveling around the state to talk about the resignation of Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, and the recent accusation of the "Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow defrauding Ohioans millions of dollars, and how that tied back into state government.
"I feel that places like Lima have been left behind by this political process that cares more about how much you donate to the politicians than it does about doing the right thing - it’s giving people a reason not to believe in the process of democracy, I think that’s dangerous, and I’m committed to trying to fix this problem," said Space.
LIMA — Zack Space, Democratic candidate for Ohio Auditor, visited Lima Thursday afternoon as part of his tour around the region speaking about the misuse of the state’s online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, and the failure of state politicians in persecuting the company for allegedly intentionally fudging enrollment numbers for larger state payouts.
According to a story by the Associated Press, a whistle blower had called attention to ECOT officials allegedly padding enrollment numbers more than a year ago, which education regulators are currently reviewing.