Distracted

Who would have thought Ohioans would be hearing more about parking tickets and driver’s licenses than job creation and rape-kit testing in the midst of the campaigns for governor and attorney general?
But, here we are 77 days from the Nov. 4 election with two Democrats dogged by questions about their inability to follow the most basic of the state’s motor vehicle laws.
David Pepper, a candidate for attorney general, is the latest to be skewered for parking infractions, of all things.
According to reports this week, Pepper has collected 182 parking tickets over the past 14 years. The only positive is that Pepper has paid the tickets, $9,229, according to The Associated Press.
The issue is not parking tickets. Everyone gets those now and then. But how can someone who is seeking to become the state’s top law enforcement officer average more than one violation a month for over a decade?
The bad habit is apparently ongoing: Pepper got a parking ticket last month.
The explanation from the Pepper camp is that most occurred years ago when he had a hectic schedule that included many late-night meetings.
Most people drive around the block until they find a parking spot. Pepper apparently just parked wherever he wanted, an action that suggests he felt he was above the law.
Gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald, meanwhile, is still dealing with the news that he lacked a driver’s license for about a decade, apparently including periods when he was driving alone and in vehicles paid for by taxpayers.
Sure, FitzGerald had a temporary permit at different times during that period, but even he admits there may have been times when he drove unlicensed. In Ohio, that is against the law.
FitzGerald may get chauffeured if elected governor, but his past illegal activity, while minor, is hard to excuse for anyone, let alone someone who wants to lead our state.
That FitzGerald and Pepper happen to be Democrats isn’t important, except that their party is already playing catch-up and doesn’t need the distractions.
Republicans hold all major state offices and control the majority in the Legislature. Gov. John Kasich and Attorney General Mike DeWine are ahead in the early polls for re-election. So, FitzGerald and Pepper didn’t help themselves, or others in the party running for office this year, by having a lengthy history of driving problems.
Far worse information could emerge about anyone between now and the election, but we have to believe the odds of both FitzGerald and Pepper being elected have fallen since their traffic records surfaced.
Ohioans must still hear about the real issues facing the state. But when candidates have demonstrated such a reckless disregard for the law, their campaigns may be hard for voters to support.

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