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Aaron Marshall
By Aaron Marshall November 12, 2010

Anti-tax group says the lone Ohio incumbent to break tax pledge was soundly defeated

Americans for Tax Reform is becoming a force to be reckoned with in American politics.

The anti-tax group, headed by conservative Grover Norquist, came up with a simple anti-tax pledge that became a must-sign for Republicans across the country running for Congress.

The pledge says that the signer will "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to raise taxes" and it was signed by those running from all kinds of offices from local races right on up to gubernatorial races across America.

In Ohio, the pledge was signed by GOP Congressional candidates galore as well as trio of Republicans who won statewide office on Nov. 2 -- Secretary of State-elect Jon Husted, State Auditor-elect David Yost and Gov.-elect John Kasich.

It was also signed by at least 22 Republicans who will be in the Ohio House, including the incoming House Speaker Bill Batchelder, a Medina Republican who comes into power after flipping at least a dozen seats (two seats still have automatic recounts on the way) to gain a 58-person majority in the 99-member chamber.

Hoping to trumpet the success of anti-tax candidates, Americans for Tax Reform put out a news release congratulating Kasich and Batchelder for their Election Day success.

In the release, they attempt to underscore the consequences for those who violate the pledge.

"It is a commitment voters take very seriously: The only incumbent in Ohio to break his Pledge and vote for Ted Strickland's income tax hike was defeated soundly on Tuesday."

Because the pledge appears to be growing in popularity with the conservatives running all branches of state government, PolitiFact decided to take a closer look at this claim.

The incumbent the anti-tax group is referring to is the only House Democratic candidate to sign the pledge Rep. Dan Dodd of Hebron. And Dodd most assuredly did vote for Strickland's plan to push back the final year of a planned income tax cut -- what the anti-tax group and Republicans across Ohio say amounts to a tax hike.

However, it's a little stretch to say he was beaten "soundly," as Dodd lost by about 3.8 percent in his run against Republican Bill Hayes. Libertarian candidate Chad Ricketts polled a surprising 10 percent in the race to finish third. Dodd trailed Hayes by about 1,500 votes in a race with more than 42,000 votes cast.

What the Americans for Tax Reform doesn't tell you is that the anti-tax pledge was no guarantee of success in Ohio legislative races. In fact, more than 60 percent of the Ohio legislative candidates who took the pledge lost their races. To be fair, many were third-party candidates or Republicans running in overwhelmingly Democratic districts.

To sum up: Americans for Tax Reform claimed the only incumbent to break the group's no-new taxes pledge was defeated "soundly" on Nov. 2. And while it's true that Hebron Democratic Rep. Dan Dodd was the only one to break the pledge, he lost by less than 4 percentage points. We find that to be less than "soundly."

As a result, we rate this claim Mostly True.

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Anti-tax group says the lone Ohio incumbent to break tax pledge was soundly defeated

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