The campaign to pass Issue 1 doesn’t have much money, and there have been reports of internal issues, but it does have wide-ranging support and no organized opposition. The AFL-CIO, Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Farm Bureau and Fraternal Order of Police of Ohio gathered on Tuesday to voice their support for the proposed constitutional amendment on legislative redistricting. “When trying to address pressing issues in our communities through the legislative process, the FOP has been stymied by partisan politics that result from the current gerrymandered districts,” said Gary Wolske, vice president of the FOP of Ohio. Issue 1 seeks to change Ohio’s hyper-partisan process for drawing legislative districts, in which the majority party gerrymanders the lines for its own benefit. The process leads to few competitive districts and a Statehouse that doesn’t necessarily reflect the political leanings of the voting public.
Co-campaign chairmen, former state Reps. Matt Huffman, a Republican from Lima, and Vernon Sykes, an Akron Democrat, said polls have Issue 1 passing, especially when people hear the ballot summary. A poll released on Tuesday by the University of Akron’s Bliss Institute found that Issue 1 is supported 55 percent to 16 percent, though a sizable group remains undecided.
The official Issue 1 campaign, Fair Districts for Ohio, has raised less than $300,000. The group has done a targeted mailing and will soon run radio spots across the state. “When a campaign raises a quarter-million dollars, there’s not much to fight about,” Huffman said, responding to a question about dysfunction in the campaign.