Racial appeals are becoming an issue in the Ohio secretary of state's race, which features two African Americans.
During a Columbus debate, a supporter of state Rep. Charleta Tavares, D-Columbus, asked Republican state Treasurer Ken Blackwell to defend some radio ads his campaign ran earlier this year on stations in Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton.
The ads featured the fictional "Smitty's Barber Shop." One ad involved a conversation among two barbers, "Jake" and "Smitty," and "Isabelle," a woman bringing them lunch.
"Hey, baby, lunch sho' smells good," Smitty says, then he tells the woman, "Jake was just saying that Charleta Tavares wanted a 20 percent tax increase and voted to have it placed on the ballot."
After a bipartisan group of lawmakers put the proposed sales tax increase for schools and property tax relief on the May 5 ballot, voters rejected it by a 4-to-1 ratio.
The ad asserts that "Brother Blackwell was against the tax from the beginning."
Ms. Tavares said the spots rely on "negative stereotypes" of African Americans.
"It didn't reflect positively on the community as a whole," she said.
Mr. Blackwell explained.
"Barbershops have been focal points for black citizens," he said. "In fact people with a wide variety of language patterns came there and debated. The folks in the barbershop talk about bowling with their spouses, they talk about being civically engaged, being up on the issues and holding politicians accountable.
"When I travel across this state in African-American communities, clearly folks are looking forward to the next episode at Smitty's."
Hyland cancels ads
Marilyn Hyland, candidate for Hamilton County commissioner, has canceled the TV time she had reserved for next week, saying her funding is falling short.
The candidate, who reported raising $688 on her last campaign finance report, had reserved $250,000 in TV time, said her communications director, Fred Anderson.
The campaign had planned to begin running ads Tuesday.Mr. Anderson predicted they will run during the final week before the election instead.
Her opponent, Tom Neyer Jr., is talking about spending $150,000 during the final week or two of campaigning.
Compiled by staff of The Cincinnati Enquirer.