By Liz Sidoti
The Associated Press
COLUMBUS - Backers of Issue 1, who had considered pulling the plug on their campaign, said on Saturday that they will begin airing television commercials promoting the drug-treatment ballot initiative.
The decision means that the Ohio Campaign for New Drug Policies, which is behind the Nov. 5 ballot issue, won't run commercials that undercut Gov. Bob Taft.
The campaign threatened to run "issue advocacy" ads against Mr. Taft, a Republican whom it has accused of corrupting the ballot-initiative process, after polls showed support for the Issue 1 was lacking. Mr. Taft's team has denied that accusation.
His Democratic opponent, Tim Hagan, said last week that he would not support Issue 1 running ads in the governor's race even though Mr. Hagan does not have enough money for his own TV commercials.
Ed Orlett, the Issue 1 campaign director, confirmed on Saturday that TV airtime to promote the initiative had been reserved in Youngstown and commercials were to begin running there Tuesday.
He said the campaign still is considering whether to run ads in other major media markets, and could not say how much money it will spend on the ads.
Two newspaper polls show the proposed constitutional amendment, which would require judges to offer treatment instead of jail to certain drug offenders, is supported by only about 30 percent of likely voters.
Ohioans Against Unsafe Drug Laws, the group led by Mr. Taft to oppose Issue 1, is buying airtime in all major media markets across the state to air commercials beginning late this week, said a spokeswoman for the group.
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