Strickland not disrupted by Clinton campaign

COLUMBUS – The campaigning that Gov. Ted Strickland did for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t distract him from official state business, his spokesman said.

Strickland spent five full workdays out of the office and six weekend days on the campaign trail for Clinton, according to The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, which requested a copy of the governor’s schedule. Clinton won the state’s March 4 primary over Barack Obama.

“It is not unusual for Gov. Strickland to work every day of the week, from early morning to late evening,” Strickland spokesman Keith Dailey said. “So spending a few days out of the office to campaign for the next president of the United States didn’t detract from state business. The governor’s office communicates with him constantly when he’s on the road.”

Strickland made 17 trips for Clinton’s campaign in the primary’s last three weeks, including stops with former President Bill Clinton.

He also made campaign appearances in early primary states such as Iowa and South Carolina.

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s campaign paid for the governor’s travel, but Ohio taxpayers picked up other costs.

Out-of-state campaign stops costs the State Highway Patrol, which provides Strickland’s security detail, $3,800 for meals, lodging and air fare plus $3,900 for wages, including overtime, said patrol Lt. Tony Bradshaw.

Ohio law requires the governor to have protection at all times, no matter what he is doing.

“No direct taxpayer costs are associated with campaign activity,” Dailey said. “Of course, there are marginal costs associated with nearly any of the governor’s activities.”

Strickland has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate, but the governor had denied any interest in the job.