Back to Ohio, but without Kenneth Blackwell

By Tim Grieve
Published February 10, 2005 2:27PM (EST)

It was no big surprise that Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell blew off Rep. John Conyers' efforts to investigate the 2004 election. Conyers has his agenda, and Blackwell -- who ran the election in Ohio while also serving as chairman of the Bush-Cheney campaign -- clearly has his, too.

But it's a little harder to figure why Blackwell is snubbing the Republican-controlled House Administration Committee. The Committee held its first hearing on the election of 2004 Wednesday, and both Blackwell and Florida Secretary of State Glenda Hood were no-shows. Democrats were livid -- Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald accused Blackwell and Hood of "arrogance" and said their failure to appear was an "affront" to Congress -- and at least some Republicans were peeved. "'I am disappointed that they are not here," said the committee's chairman, Ohio Rep. Bob Ney. "We can have disagreements, but you can't run and you can't hide."

Blackwell was in Washington Wednesday on other business, and he told the Associated Press that he doesn't see what all the fuss is about. "I don't know why there would be any hand-wringing or foot stomping," he said. "The Ohio story is probably the most widely told story in the country."

Blackwell said that he'll send somebody to appear before the committee, suggesting that the somebody won't be him.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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