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This year, the political battle for Ohio voters is fiercer than ever. With a tight U.S. Senate race and mere percentage points separating the candidates for President, WKSU reporters are busy covering the story behind the stories to bring you the best information and help you make educated decisions in the November elections.

Ohio's two senators talk in Akron about jobs, civility and politics
Sen. Sherrod Brown's address to the Akron Press Club, and Sen. Rob Portman's address to the Akron Roundtable

Ohio's two senators traveled to Akron in the past week to address the Akron Press Club and Akron Roundtable. And WKSU is offering this archive of both speeches.

Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown spoke to the Akron Press Club on Friday, Jan. 6, about topics ranging from fracking to civility in D.C.
Here's his speech, following an introduction by the University of Akron Bliss Institute's David Cohen.

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Obama sidesteps Senate, names Ohio's Cordray new consumer protection head
The announcement is expected in Shaker Heights this afternoon; Republicans are challenging Mr. Obama's contention that it is in recess

President Obama is appointing former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – over the objection of Republicans in Congress. The president is announcing the recess appointment this afternoon while he’s in Shaker Heights. Senate Republicans had blocked the appointment, not because they objected to Cordray, but because they objected to the overall power of the agency. Northeast Ohio Congressman Jim Renacci says Republicans in the House, too, are working on revising the agency. “We don’t’ believe one person should harness that much power but we do believe that the agency set up with the right board above it would be workable and we’re still working toward that.” But even naming Cordray as a recess appointment has raised Republican objections. Such appointments can only happen when the Senate is in recess. The president maintains that the sporadic Senate sessions over the holidays are a ruse, just to block Cordray and other appointments. Ohio Senator Rob Portman was among those blocking Cordray. But Ohio’s other senator, Sherrod Brown, is praising Mr. Obama’s move. In a statement he accused Republicans of siding with Wall Street  to block needed consumer protections. Until a director is in place, the new bureau cannot extend consumer protections to payday lenders, debt collectors and other financial companies.
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National Dems put Ohio's Sutton on their top support list
Akron-area congresswoman is taking on Renacci for the new Northeast Ohio district

Betty Sutton – whose district was dismantled by the newest Ohio congressional map – is one of five incumbents that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee plans to help raise big money next year. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on what’s expected to be a big race for both Republicans and Democrats.
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Payroll tax fight divides Ohio Republicans
Northeast Ohio Rep. Jim Renacci says deal struck by Republican leadership in House and Senate doesn't apply to him

The standoff over a payroll tax cut extension has divided Ohio Republicans. Sen. Rob Portman voted for a Senate plan Saturday that extended the tax cuts and unemployment benefits for two months. He says he still wants a one-year deal, but thinks a short-term plan may be the most viable option to keep taxes from going up January first. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown agrees. He says the House vote caught him off-guard.
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Ohioans prep for early voting
While court fights continue, campaigns shift energy from swaying voters to getting out the decideds

Early in-person voting begins tomorrow in Ohio, at the same time county board of elections are preparing to mail out hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the big demands of an upcoming big election.
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Birth control, cheeseburgers and other concerns of school board candiates
For a powerful board, the Ohio Board of Education gets little attention; voters often don't know what to make of state BOE districts and interests

Sometimes it feels like the only thing Ohoians have to worry about on Election Day is picking the next president. But, in fact, there are a whole bunch of other races further down the ballot. That includes voting on candidates for the State Board of Education. StateImpact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky reports on some of the folks running for a seat on the board that implements Ohio school policies.
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