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Friday, March 09, 2012

The Mystery Surrounding Oh-02 Democratic Mystery Candidate Grows Even More Mysterious: Online Bio Info Is For Another 'William Smith'

This is NOT William Smith of Oh-02
BREAKING NEWS 2:05 p.m. -- Robocalls that dissed Democratic-endorsed candidate originated from a Cleveland-area telephone number: 440-429-9200.  There were at least two spiels to southern Ohio voters from that number -- one on Sunday March 3, the other Monday on primary eve.  The Verizon phone line is now unreachable .  A recording says it is disconnected, changed or no longer in service.  And the SuperPac behind the robocalls looks to have vanished into thin air. 

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- At first, Democrats heard robocalls from a SuperPac that came out of nowhere virutally on the eve of the March 6 primary.  The calls touted a candidate who doesn't seem to have campaigned for office.  Now the blogosphere and e-mails have been primed with data about William R. Smith, the Pike County Democrat who appears to have won the party's nomination for the OH-02 congressional seat.  But the William Smith whose bio and photo are floating around online isn't the same William Smith who is the mystery candidate leading David Krikorian by 59 votes.  (The margin is so tight there could be a mandatory recount looming later this month.)  Somebody is circulating false information.  Whether by accident or intentionally, nobody can say for certain.  For example, the William Smith who ran in Oh-02 is 61 years old, according his voter registration data.  His birthdate is Jan. 16, 1951.    The William Smith whose bio is floating around the Internet graduated from Glenwood High School near Canton in 1960.  To be that person, the Oh-02 nominee from Pike County would have been 9 years old when he finished high schoool.  He would have been 14 when he went to U.S. Army Aviation School during the Vietnam War.  And he would have been 12 when he finished a "three-year apprenticeship at Timken, ending in 1963."

Neither the United Steelworkers of America nor Timken have a reputation for violating child labor laws -- it is extremely unlikely they put a 9-year-old to work in a steel mill.

LezGetReal, a Vermont-based LGBTA blog with a large following, seems to have created much of the confusion about Smith's background by publishing this data Thursday:  "According to the candidates’ profiles posted by Our Campaigns, Smith graduated from Glenwood High School in Canton in 1960 and is a retired tool grinder and abrasive specialist from the Timken Company. He was a member of the United Steelworkers of America for 12 years and served a three-year apprenticeship at Timken, ending in 1963. He attended the U.S. Army Aviation School in 1963 and the Air National Guard NCO Academy in 1970. That information would indicate time in the Ohio Air National Guard, though his bio doesn’t specify that.
He was trained in mediation and arbitration and was elected to four terms on the Stark County Central Committee and has worked for various Democratic campaigns. Stark County is in northern Ohio and surrounds the city of Canton. No information is given as to when Mr. Smith moved to Pike County.

Our Campaigns, a collective political website that has compiled data about thousands of races and candidates over the years, shows that the William Smith from Canton (Stark County) was a Democratic candidate in Oh-16 against Ralph Regula during the 1996 and 2000 elections.  It does not connect him to Oh-02.  As far as the earlier congressional contest, Regula eventually retired from Congress after defeating Smith handily.  By the way, the Pike County William Smith -- the Oh-02 mystery candidate -- did not run against Regula in 2000.  He voted at home in the GOP primary that put George W. Bush against John McCain -- Bush won and the rest is history.

So Ohioans still have a puzzler on their hands.  The bio online is mixed up.  William Smith -- who did not campaign but came out ahead on March 6 -- doesn't seem to be taking many phone calls.  Messages left at his home by The Daily Bellwether and others haven't been answered.  Also adding strangeness to this episode were robo calls from the Victory Ohio SuperPac  on Smith's behalf ahead of the primary.  Nobody can find out much about the Super Pac.  Victory Ohio was the name of the McCain-Palin operation in the state during the 2008 presidential campaign, and it does not remain in business.  The 22-second SuperPac robocalls complained that Krikorian had once called himself a "Reagan conservative" and went on to say that supporting Krikorian would embarrass the party.  A woman's voice in the robocall said:  "Please don't make a mistake and embarrass the party.  Vote for William Smith, the real Democrat."  A lot of southern Ohio Dems voted for Smith without really knowing much of anything about him.  And maybe the party has been embarrassed by the intervention of a SuperPac that materialized seemingly from nowhere . . .

At the moment, Open says Federal Election Commission records show there are 363 SuperPacs operating across the United States. They have raised $130 million and spent $74 million so far this election cycle. When The Daily Bellwether went through the list, it was unable to find a SuperPac named Victory Ohio.

[UPDATE: 11:22 a.m. -- Anastasia Pantsios at Ohio Daily Blog is now calling the Oh-02 contest "one of the most bizarre in the state -- if not THE most bizarre."  She is pointing out that Krikorian had a load of baggage (her words) and that someone could have recruited a candidate with a bland name like "Smith" to sow confusion.]

[ UPDATE: 11:53 a.m. -- The Victory Ohio robocall from March 5 can be heard on YouTube by clicking here.]


  1. CityHall, Not LQMarch 09, 2012 11:10 AM

    Do the Turks in America have a Super Pac that was out to stop Krikorian? This is sort of smelly.

    1. Ohio Democrats are so stupid they voted for somebody they know nothing about. LOL. We would never do that in Texas. You think Smith vs. Schmidt could have confused people in a general election. Thinks of the ads . . .

  2. The way I understand what I have read here is that the candidate who won did nothing. Somebody spent money to help him. Nobody knows where the group that spent the money is from, and nobody knows who put up the money. Is that right?

  3. We do know from the voting records that Smith has voted in D primaries before. But not campaigning at all is odd. I don't think the robo-call made a huge difference. Dems just don't like Krikorian.

    I'm afraid no amount of resources would have been able to help Krikorian overcome the vitriol of his previous campaigns -- not just the racist statement 2 years ago, but the calling Lane and Burke names, the P&G conspiracy theory, the attacks on teachers unions, and the attacks on Wulsin back when he called himself a conservative and was endorsed by the libertarians. The results show that Democrats remember these attacks. One robo-call was not the reason behind the thousands of votes Smith received.

    But there is a history in SW Ohio of nasty primaries that try to push out real Democrats from running. Once Krikorian was on the ballot, no one was willing to campaign against him and risk having their name muddied. People see lies spread about good progressives and hide from campaigns. If we wanted a strong candidate, a Democrat should have stepped up to run. I hope Mr. Smith is a real candidate and is willing to fight now. He has voted in Democratic primaries recently - which is more than we can say than some of our other candidates.

  4. In my opinion, Mr. Krikorian was attorney Chris Finney's backup candidate in the event Jean Schmidt beat Mr. Brad Wenstrup. Mr. Wenstrup won so that scheme is dead.

    My opinion is that the person named Smith should talk about what went on, assuming he actually knows anything. Too much mystery here.

  5. Vic Wulsin gets revenge. Krikorian cost her the seat when he ran against her.

  6. Bill,

    The confusion over the biographical material looks like an accident or error. The robocalling is a serious breach. It was not happenstance, there had to be a script written and a system put in place to make the calls across the district. That was premeditated conduct. Somebody went to a great deal of work to make it look like a legitimate organization was involved in the election.

    If our laws are not going to become a farce, there needs to be an investigation by the proper authorities to get to the bottom of this. Republicans and Democrats should be equally concerned about this type of nefarious conduct. If not thwarted, any candidate from either party could become the victim of a shadowy group that appears and disappears in the blink of an eye.

    This super pac incident must be investigated before more harm is done. The authorities should scrutinize the incident and punish those involved if any laws were violated. Next time out, what is to halt a robocaller from claiming somebody was involved in an affair, the drug trade, or was a member of a horrible organization. Nip it now before this cancer grows.

  7. A reliable source has passed this information along, and I have posted as a comment for all to see and consider.


    Some background:

    First, remember, Schmidt interfered in OH-2 Demo primary in 2010, with the . . . statement that Krikorian had made a racist statement at a demo event about this Indian opponent's name, and Burke and Lane dutifully played along. So, she has a history of trying to dictate who her opponent would be.

    Second, I have no evidence at all, but based upon the wording and message, I would bet you $100 this came from Schmidt . . . or some related PAC. I would call Bruce Fein, Lincoln McCurty, Barry Bennett (there is a serious news story out there explaining how he is the master at hiding political money) (

    But Bennett has a history as a frontman for Republican Party ventures financed by donors intent on maintaining their anonymity. Since the 1990s, he has headed two nonprofits set up for the purpose of influencing elections while maintaining donor secrecy. He has operated within the underbelly of politics where secret money flows through obscure trusts and foundations to finance attack ads and campaigns free of fingerprints.

    Schmidt is apparently denying this, but I expect she would.

  8. This smells like another dirty trick from the corrupt Jean Schmidt (who thought she was a lock to win) and her Turkish backers.

  9. 1) Study after study has shown robo-calls are ineffective.
    2) A PAC doesn't have to file with the FEC if the expenditures are less than $1,000. You can do 25,000 robo-calls for that amount of money. Krikorian had what, about $65k?
    :. Smith won because Democrats don't like Krikorian. And the conspiracy theory that it came from Schmidt sounds eerily like when Krikorian said Schmidt made a deal with Burke and Lane to attack him. Oh, and Olberman was mean to him because Oil of Olay advertised that night on the show....

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  11. Excellent post.

    The comments suggesting some direct connection of Schmidt and the "mystery man" are off-base, and the comments implicating Krikorian are simply absurd.

    Real answers come from Pike County, where the not-so-mysterious Mr. Smith lives. For a full treatment of the issue, see: