Mike Crites (R)

Richard Cordray (D)

Marc Dann (D)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Legal Newsline)-The Republican nominee for Ohio attorney general is running a second TV ad hammering Democrat Richard Cordray's early support for disgraced former Attorney General Marc Dann.

Republican Mike Crities' campaign ad accuses Cordray, the current state treasurer, of enabling Dann, who resigned in mid-May amid an office sexual harassment scandal.

"Many Ohioans - Republicans and Democrats alike - were concerned that Marc Dann wasn't qualified to be attorney general," Crites said. "Yet Richard Cordray, despite being fully aware that Marc Dann had been unanimously reprimanded by the Ohio Supreme Court for acting unethically, wholeheartedly endorsed Dann. This kind of blind support for such a controversial candidate brings Richard Cordray's judgment into question."

The ad comes as the Crites campaign prepares to file an ethics complaint against Cordray for allegedly accepting illegal campaign contributions. The Dayton (Ohio) Daily News reported last week that one of Cordray's supporters may have been funneling contributions through family members to skirt contribution limits.

Crites, a former U.S. attorney, is trailing Cordray in the polls by eight points, according to a poll released last week. Cordray is also ahead significantly in fundraising. Still, the Crites campaign says its several weeks before the Nov. 4 election.

"The dynamics of this race are changing," Crites Campaign Manager Dan Baker said. "We've seen an increase in our fundraising, with several high-dollar events scheduled in the coming days. Voters are realizing that Mike Crites is the better candidate in both experience and leadership - two qualities that are required for our next attorney general."

In an interview this week with Legal Newsline, Cordray said the Dann scandal has shaken confidence in the attorney general's office.

"Whoever goes into that office -- given the nature of the situation -- has to continue to boost morale, double-down the organization and has to try to rebuild the public's trust in the office," Cordray said. "Public trust is something that is lost quickly and rebuilt slowly."

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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