Surprise! Elyria Chronicle endorses Quentin Potter over Bob Gibbs

Oct 22, 2020
Chronical-Telegraph Editorial Board

In ordinary times we might endorse U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs for reelection, but we just can’t bring ourselves to do it now.

Although we have numerous political disagreements with Gibbs, R-Lakeville, he has done some good during his tenure. He pushed to dredge the Cuyahoga River and worked with a bipartisan group of legislators who successfully resisted cuts to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. He also pointed out that he has worked to help hospitals during the pandemic.

None of that, however, is enough to overcome our concerns about his record of supporting President Donald Trump.

Gibbs, 66, is a conservative, business-friendly Republican rather than an extremist, but he has enabled Trump’s worst impulses. He voted against impeachment. He supported allowing Trump to raid the Pentagon’s budget to fund his ineffective border wall. During an endorsement interview he seemed far more interested in Hunter Biden than the myriad of scandals that have plagued the Trump administration.

He also toyed with conspiracy theories, including the debunked idea that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese virology lab. He didn’t go so far as to say it was deliberately released, telling us he believed it was an accident, but members of Congress shouldn’t be repeating outlandish claims from the recesses of the internet.

Quentin Potter, Gibbs’ Democratic opponent from Canton, struck us as practical and someone who would let science and facts drive his decision-making.

Potter, 64, told us he entered the race only because at the time Gibbs didn’t have an opponent. He ran as an unopposed write-in candidate in the Democratic primary, but he is on the ballot in the general election.

“I didn’t feel that the incumbent was doing his job, and I still feel that today, that he doesn’t represent the district,” Potter said.

Potter said he would have voted for impeachment and opposed using military funds for the border wall. He supported addressing climate change, reforming police and enacting reasonable gun-control measures. Potter also rightly criticized Gibbs’ enduring opposition to the Affordable Care Act, which the Trump administration is seeking to do away with, thus ending its protections for those with preexisting conditions.

Potter told us his political positions tend to line up with those of former Vice President Joe Biden, the Democratic nominee for president.

Gibbs has far more political experience than his opponent. A farmer by trade, he spent time in the Ohio House and Senate before making the jump to Congress in 2011.

Potter hasn’t held elected office, but he has worked extensively in state government, including stints as chief financial officer and deputy director at the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, and CFO for the Department of Administrative Services. He also served as vice president and treasurer for Lorain County Community College from 2011 through 2014.

That experience, we believe, more than qualifies Potter to provide solid representation for the district. His financial background would be put to good use as the federal government grapples with how to get the economy going again in the aftermath of the pandemic, if not before.

Libertarian Brandon Lape , 39, also is in the race, but he has no business being in government because of his irresponsible views on the coronavirus. He told us during an endorsement interview that the pandemic was being used as “a political tool to divide and conquer the people.” He also said it would be better if people didn’t wear masks so more became infected, which he argued would speed up herd immunity.

Were Americans to follow Lape’s dangerous advice, the already surging infection rate would spiral out of control. More people would get sick and more would die.

Gibbs is confident in victory. He told us that he didn’t think “it’s much of a race.”

He’s probably right. The largely rural district is drawn to elect a Republican. It encompasses 10 counties, and in Lorain County includes Avon and North Ridgeville in addition to the villages of LaGrange, Rochester and Wellington, and the townships of Brighton, Columbia, Eaton, Grafton, Huntington, LaGrange, Penfield, Rochester and Wellington.

Potter acknowledged he faced an uphill battle, although he said the better Biden did in Ohio, the better his chances were of beating Gibbs. The most recent Real Clear Politics average of polls showed Trump at 46.6 percent compared to Biden’s 46.4 percent. That places the state in toss-up territory, although the same probably can’t be said of the 7th Congressional District.

“I continue to be optimistic, but realistic,” Potter said.

Voters should be realistic as well and recognize that the longshot Potter is the best candidate in the race.

Vote NOW through Nov. 3

You have three options to vote in this year’s national election:

  • Vote in person now until Nov. 2 at Board of Elections, 104 Sugar St., Mount Vernon, OH.  Please visit the web site for hours. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing.
  • If you requested an absentee ballot, you should receive your ballot soon. Carefully complete it, following instructions, and either mail it or put it in the drop box at BOE, located on the east side of the building. (You can still request an absentee ballot, but do it soon!)
  • Or vote in person on Election Day, Nov. 3, at your precinct. Please wear a mask and follow social distancing.

Knight Foundation Polls College Student Voting Views

Oct 6,2020
Knight commissioned College Pulse to undertake a national poll of college student views on voting and the 2020 election, to gage their responses to voting during these unprecedented and uncertain times. Conducted from August 9 to 12, 2020, findings from “College Students, Voting and the COVID-19 Election” represent a sample of 4,000 full-time students currently enrolled in four-year degree programs surveyed via the College Pulse mobile app and web portal, and weighted to be nationally representative.

Key takeaways include:

  • Most students—led by college women and Democrats—say they are “absolutely certain” they will vote this year. About seven in 10 (71%) students say they are absolutely certain they will vote in the upcoming election, with female students expressing greater certainty than their male counterparts by a margin of 10 points. Students who identify as Democrat are the most likely to be absolutely certain they will vote (81%), followed by Republicans (74%) and Independents (63%).
  • Students lack confidence in the legitimacy of the 2020 election. Nearly half (49%) say it won’t be fair and open, and a majority (55%) say it will not be administered well. A full 81% say special interest groups have more influence over election outcomes than voters.
  • Students are likely to doubt the results of the presidential election. Half say that problems at polling places such as long lines or broken voting machines would lead them to have major doubts about the fairness of the election; followed by evidence of foreign interference (48%); the election winner losing the popular vote (46%); and low voter turnout (46%) or if most voters cast ballots by mail (31%). 74% will have major or minor doubts about the fairness of the election if it takes weeks to count.
  • Students plan to vote for Joe Biden by a wide margin, but enthusiasm is low for both major candidates and their parties. A full 70% say they will vote for Biden, versus only 18% for President Trump. But only 49% have a favorable impression of Biden, versus 51% unfavorable; for Trump, those numbers are 19% and 81%, respectively. When it comes to the two major parties, male college students view both about equally negatively, while female students express much more positive views of the Democratic Party.
  • Just over half of college students plan to vote by mail, with large partisan splits. The majority (63%) of Democratic students say they would prefer to vote by mail or absentee, compared to 31% of Republican students. Thirty nine percent of all students plan to vote in person.

The report, “College Students, Voting and the COVID-19 Election,” details the full findings on these and other issues related to the 2020 election and political participation among the rising generation of college-educated Americans — including notable breakout data by gender, party affiliation and race. College students’ responses reveal a polarized student body that’s unified in its skepticism of the electoral system, the candidates, and the idea that the government works to improve their lives. But most of them are still largely intent on casting a ballot in 2020.