WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kerry didn't contest the results at the time, but now that he's considering another run for the White House, he's alleging election improprieties by the Ohio Republican who oversaw the deciding vote in 2004.
An e-mail will be sent to 100,000 Democratic donors Tuesday asking them to support U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland for governor of Ohio. The bulk of the e-mail criticizes Strickland's opponent, GOP Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, for his dual role in 2004 as President Bush's honorary Ohio campaign co-chairman and the state's top election official.
"He used the power of his state office to try to intimidate Ohioans and suppress the Democratic vote," said Kerry's e-mail.
Kerry, D-Mass., conceded the election when he lost Ohio and its 20 electoral votes. A recount requested by minor-party candidates showed Bush won by about 118,000 votes out of 5.5 million cast. But Kerry's e-mail says Blackwell "used his office to abuse our democracy and threaten basic voting rights."
Multiple lawsuits by outside groups were unsuccessful in challenging Ohio's 2004 election. One case filed by the League of Women Voters is still in U.S. District Court in Toledo. It claims Ohio's election system discriminates against minority voters.
Blackwell, who is black, says the election was run fairly, citing 1 million more votes cast than in 2000 and record turnout among black voters.
"People will say anything for money," said Blackwell campaign spokesman Carlo LoParo. "Fortunately, the historical record contradicts Senator Kerry."
Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey said the campaign welcomes Kerry's support.