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State legislature passes substitute for TEL

Ohio Republicans united yesterday to kill a ballot issue that some saw as the biggest hurdle to the party's candidate for governor.

The GOP-controlled Legislature acted quickly to pass a state-spending limit as a substitute for nominee Kenneth Blackwell's increasingly unpopular government-limiting constitutional amendment.

Lawmakers also passed a separate proposal that makes it legal for Blackwell to remove his amendment from the ballot. He has agreed to do so.

The votes came after hours of heated debate in which Democrats attacked the package as a gimmick and a mistake.

Blackwell's challenger, Ted Strickland, is seen as the Democrats' best chance in more than a decade to take control of the bellwether state engulfed in Republican scandal.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)