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Group ends ballot challenge to slots at horse tracks: LetOhioVote no longer will fight Strickland's plan
[June 28, 2010]

Group ends ballot challenge to slots at horse tracks: LetOhioVote no longer will fight Strickland's plan

Jun 28, 2010 (The Columbus Dispatch - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- A trio of social conservatives announced today that they are dropping their ballot challenge to Gov. Ted Strickland's plan for slot machines at horse-racing tracks. informed Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner's office today that it will not pursue a November ballot measure that would decide the fate of Strickland's 2009 proposal for 2,500 video slot machines at each of the state's seven racetracks.

Last winter, -- led by conservative activists David Hansen, Gene Pierce and Tom Brinkman Jr. -- gathered 321,389 valid signatures to force Strickland's plan to the ballot. The group spent $1.55 million on its petition effort, all of it coming from a shadowy organization in suburban Washington called New Models.

New Models has not disclosed its funding source.

In a statement today announcing its withdrawal of the ballot measure, cited the passage last November of a constitutional amendment authorizing casinos in the state's major cities. The group also noted Strickland's public statements that he will seek court approval to proceed with plans for slot machines at the racetracks.

Brinkman said succeeded in getting the Ohio Supreme Court to rule that Strickland's slots-at-racetracks plan was subject to a public referendum. Strickland had contended that it was part of the state budget and therefore immune to a ballot challenge.

"With our primary goals accomplished, it seems imprudent to proceed with a campaign that can be easily rendered moot by a court decision or new legislation authorizing (video slot machines)," Brinkman said in his statement.

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