By Matt Reese
Yikes. Are you tired of political ads yet?
There is almost nowhere I can look in Central Ohio, other than the fields and autumn-clad woods behind my house, without seeing or hearing something about a political candidate. Radio, television, print, billboards, Internet, airplane banners — every possible form of media is overflowing with election driven messages.
Ohio voters have been relentlessly bombarded for months by a steady stream of political ads highlighting the virtues of some candidates and pointing out the villainous behavior of others. Ohio once again finds itself at the center of the election at the federal level, and is also home to multiple state and local elections of significant importance this fall. The amount of ads and money spent is clear evidence that, if you live in Ohio, your vote really matters on a national scale.
I have talked with multiple people who recently visited Ohio from other states and they are amazed at the number of national level political ads here verses what they see and hear in their home states. In Ohio, we have almost grown used to this onslaught that is as certain as the turning leaves and chilly nights leading up to a big election.
For more evidence, just consider the amount of time the presidential candidates have spent in the state. I have been stuck in Columbus traffic on numerous occasions due to presidential motorcades halting traffic for miles.
Ohio is a well-populated Midwestern state with a substantial number of electoral votes up for grabs and the state has a very good track record on picking presidential candidates. Since 1896, Ohio has only picked the losing candidate twice, in 1944 and in 1960. Only Nevada has a better presidential track record.
And, possibly the most crucial voting group in one of the most crucial states in the country, is rural Ohio. Experts feel that Republican candidate Mitt Romney needs to heavily win rural Ohio to offset what are likely inevitable wins for Barack Obama in urban centers. This dynamic puts Ohio agriculture in a significant position of political power (as it often does) in the presidential election. Multiple polls were showing a significant surge in favor of Mitt Romney in the rural areas of key swing states (including Ohio) following the first presidential debate.
In addition, the struggle between Republican Josh Mandel and Democrat Sherrod Brown for a Senate seat has very significant ramifications in the battle for control of the Senate. Ohio agriculture will also play a key role in this race.
The bottom line for those in Ohio agriculture is: do your homework and make sure that you vote. It is important. The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (www.ofbf.org) has some great resources for finding out more agriculturally related information on the state issues and candidates, as does the Mid-October issue of the OCJ (www.ocj.com).
Soon, the political ads will be done (for a little while anyway) and the election will be completed. It is important that the political power of agriculture is accurately represented in this significant election. There is a reason rural Ohio has a big red circle around it in every national campaign office, it is no coincidence that both Romney and Obama have photos of them with tractors in the background and it was not by accident that almost 50 politicians were in attendance at a county farm bureau meeting I attended this fall — rural Ohio votes matter.
I am Matt Reese, and I approve this message.