Democrats trying to make this year's elections a referendum on Reaganomics are hoping that as goes Ohio so goes the nation. Early polls show Democratic senatorial and gubernatorial candidates there, incumbent Sen. Howard M. Metzenbaum and former lieutenant governor Richard Celeste, leading by margins large enough that President Reagan has scheduled a campaign stop in the state Oct. 4.
Metzenbaum leads state Sen. Paul Pfeifer by at least 15 points in polls, and Celeste leads Rep. Clarence J. Brown by 10 to 15 points. Celeste is trying to blame Reaganomics for the state's 650,000 unemployed. Ohio's unemployment rate was 12.7 percent in August, second nationally to Michigan.
The candidates have gotten after each other early and often. Celeste is leading the charge, losing no opportunity to paint Brown, a strong supporter of Reaganomics, as being "part of the problem instead of being part of the solution."
A congressman for 18 years, Brown expresses confidence that Reagan's policies will begin to turn the country around, and says that if elected he would be willing to administer government programs farmed out by the "New Federalism." He paints Celeste as just another outmoded '60s and '70s liberal in the tradition of Jimmy Carter and George McGovern.
Celeste scoffs that Brown will "wait for Adam Smith's POLITICAL NOTES unseen hand to straighten out the problems of Ohio . . . . The first responsibility of the governor of the state of Ohio is to get people back to work."