Candidate for Ohio governor Richard Cordray is shown with his running mate, Betty Sutton, during a Dayton Chamber of Commerce meeting on Thursday, Aug. 16. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

‘Comrade Cordray:’ Ohio GOP tries to tie Cordray to Communist Party

The Ohio Republican Party on Monday blasted out an email titled: “Comrade Cordray - Communist Party Campaigning for Cordray.”

“This is not a joke. The Communist Party USA is targeting Ohio’s gubernatorial race in hopes of getting Richard Cordray elected,” the email says.

The Cordray campaign calls it a desperate ploy.

MORE: Ohio governor race: Who is Richard Cordray?

“Mike DeWine is flailing. He’s trying to distract voters from his 42-year long record in politics of taking millions in campaign cash from the big drug and insurance companies, and then working alongside them to try to take away protections for pre-existing conditions and raise drug prices,” said Cordray campaign press secretary Mike Gwin.

The email includes a link to a Communist Party USA blog post, that makes no mention of Cordray but does note that the party is “involved in” eight states that can flip governors from Republican to Democrat, including Ohio.

University of Dayton political scientist Chris Devine noted that the Communist Party USA does have a track record of encouraging its supporters to vote for Democrats in order to defeat Republicans, but that doesn’t translate into a direct endorsement for Cordray.

MORE: Ohio governor race: Who is Mike DeWine?

Painting a political opponent as an extremist is a common tactic for motivating and scaring voters, he said.

“It’s a quicker, simpler way to discredit an opponent than to specifically criticize a policy - just label him or her as aligned with extremists, and let voters fill in the blanks in terms of policy implications,” Devine said. “Sure, this is dramatically oversimplified and often very misleading. But would picking apart Cordray’s policy on, say, free community college tuition grab headlines or capture voters’ attention in the same way as just calling him a ‘socialist’? I don’t think so.”

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