DeWine-Husted ticket called governor’s race ‘dream team’ by GOP state senator

Published: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 11:24 AM
Updated: Thursday, November 30, 2017 @ 6:15 PM

DeWinne partners with Husted for Ohio Governor's race

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted made it official Thursday, announcing that Husted will drop his bid for governor and join DeWine as his running mate in the 2018 Republican primary for governor.  

Both men have deep ties to the Dayton region.  

DeWine said Husted brings experience, leadership, ideas and passion to the ticket and understands that the state’s two biggest challenges are education and the opioid crisis.  

“He shares my vision of where this state needs to go,” DeWine said. “We share the same commitment to protecting our families, we share the same goals and we share the same optimism about the future of this state.”

RELATED: DeWine to name Husted as his running mate in Dayton today

Husted said he’s been traveling the state hearing Republicans say they are tired of intraparty fighting.  

“Republicans have been fighting with each other long enough. Had I continued my run for Governor, Mike and I would have fought a brutal campaign that would have left the winner bruised and broken with only a few months to rebuild in time for the General Election,” Husted wrote in an emailed message to supporters.  

“It’s time to work together,” Husted said at the news conference. “And that day begins today.”  

The decision to join forces was made over breakfast Wednesday morning at the Columbus condominium of DeWine and his wife, Fran, who cooked bacon and muffins. Discussions between the two candidates about the merger of campaigns began about a week ago and Husted cut short a trip to return to Columbus for the breakfast, DeWine said.  

“This is a power house team, a dream team,” said State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, after DeWine announced Husted as his choice for lieutenant governor during a news conference at the University of Dayton. 

 Related: Who is running for governor?

Related: 5 things to know about Jon Husted

 DeWine declined to say what prompted the discussion to join forces. When asked why DeWine took the top of the ticket, DeWine said “There’s a lot (that) goes into this. I think it’s a team that will work very very well. I think it’s a team that has the ability to really change things.”

The race for the GOP nomination also includes U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. 

 

Taylor announced at a Thursday afternoon news conference that she will stay in the race. 

 

“Ohio wants a governor who will challenge the satus quo, not accede to it,” Taylor said. “We won’t get there, however, with old and typical answers offered by establishment politicians, who are more comfortable being part of the system than challenging it.”

RELATED: Lt. Gov. Taylor says she’s staying in race for governor

Renacci’s campaign also said the DeWine-Husted ticket is the status quo.  

“Career politicians Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have joined forces to offer voters a ticket with over 60 years in politics,” Renacci spokesman James Slepian said. “If they think this what Ohioans are looking for, they’re running in the wrong party’s primary.”  

Democratic reaction

On the Democratic side the announced candidates include Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron and Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill.  

In an email to supporters, Whaley called the DeWine-Husted team a “nightmare.”  

“If they win, it would be a decade-long nightmare for Ohioans,” she said.  

Whaley’s spokesperson Faith Oltman said “Just what Ohioans don’t need. Another decade of bad ideas from two rusted Republican politicians who, together, have been running for office for nearly 60 years.”  

Pillich called the DeWine-Husted ticket “nothing more than a coronation of the failed Republican status quo that has left our state broken.”  

Similar criticism came from Schiavoni and Sutton.  

Cordray to announce soon, Springer out  

Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, who just resigned as director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is expected to join the Democratic race by next week. O’Neill has said he would drop out if Cordray got in.

RELATED: Sources: Former Ohio AG Richard Cordray to announce governor run within days

Former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer announced on Wednesday that he will not run in the Democratic primary.

RELATED: TV’s Jerry Springer decides against Ohio governor run

Some observers believe Dennis Kucinich, former Democratic congressman and Cleveland mayor, will run. He could not be reached for comment.

RELATED: Kucinich goes after charter schools in Dayton-area visit

Republican supporters attending the news conference were gleeful that two men with deep local roots had joined forces and said that if they win it will give the region a boost.  

“I think the chance of the Dayton region having a representative in the governor’s office just went up,” said Chris Kershner, executive vice president of the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce.  

DeWine, who lives in Cedarville, began his career as Greene County prosecutor in 1977. He’s represented the area in the Ohio Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, was lieutenant governor and a U.S. senator.

RELATED:Mike DeWine running for governor

Husted attended the University of Dayton, worked for the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery County Commission before being elected to the Ohio House of Representatives the Ohio Senate. He also served as speaker of the Ohio House.

RELATED: Who is Jon Husted?

State Rep. Niraj Antani, who backed Husted early in the race says he’s now supporting DeWine-Husted.  

“I think it’s a team that can’t be beat,” said Antani, R-Miamisburg. “I think Mary Taylor and Jim Renacci need to drop out and support this ticket.”  

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, called DeWine-Husted a “very powerful ticket.”  

“Whoever the Democrats throw at these two will have their hands full,” Plummer said. “The game’s going to be on, and this is a strong team.”  

Former Republican Gov. Bob Taft said the DeWine-Husted ticket reminded him of the 1989 primary, when he, George Voinovich and DeWine each ran for governor. Voinovich and DeWine joined together to craft a winning ticket for 1990, while Taft went on to become secretary of state.  

Taft, a professor at the University of Dayton, did not rule out a competitive Democratic primary and general election challenge.

“There’s going to be a strong Democratic reaction after a Republican president is elected,” Taft said. “It’s a very strong ticket, but there could be a very strong Democratic ticket. It’s likely to be a very competitive race in Ohio.”  

“I think there could well be a fierce battle on the Democratic side for who could be the nominee,” he said. “Mayor Whaley has been working very hard around Ohio. I don’t see any evidence that she or any of the other candidates will drop out or not be competitive just because (Rich) Cordray gets in.”  

Kyle Kondik, a political analyst with the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said the DeWine-Husted announcement fits a pattern.  

“There’s a long history of the Ohio Republican Party being a kind of ‘wait your turn’ organization,” said Kondik. “Apparently Husted decided it was better to defer to DeWine and get on board.”  

Kondik, a former Ohio newspaper reporter and Cordray-era attorney general staffer, said Democrats are “more than capable” of winning the general election, but will need to focus on fundraising.  

“I do think that the environment next year will probably be one where there will be a desire for change,” Kondik said. “DeWine and Husted have a lot of advantages, and money might be a big one with their own fundraising prowess and the fundraising prowess of the Republican Governors Association.”

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

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Kucinich enters governor’s race with call to “reclaim” the state and bring back Democrats who voted for Trump

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 11:36 AM
Updated: Thursday, January 18, 2018 @ 5:36 PM

Kucinich says state must stop giving tax breaks to wealthy

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich told local Democrats that it is time to reclaim Ohio and start spending state resources on things that help everyone rather than tax cuts for the wealthy.

“I’m in the position to get in the game and say, ‘Look, this changes. We have to be fair to all Ohioans,’” said Kucinich, speaking to the South Dayton Democratic Club on Wednesday after announcing he is running for governor in the Democratic primary.

“We can’t meet our health care needs, our education needs, we cannot rebuild this state if all we’re doing is taking resources of the state and giving it to a select few that already is very wealthy.”

Kucinich, a former mayor of Cleveland, announced he would join the already-crowded Democratic field during a Wednesday rally at Middleburg Heights in Cuyahoga County.

He pledged to focus on fighting poverty and violence and to promote economic opportunity the arts and education, according to the Associated Press.

Later he traveled to Columbus and then spoke to the South Dayton Democratic Club at the West Carrollton branch of the Dayton Metro Library. 

Kucinich outlined his plans to raise the minimum wage, improve infrastructure and establish a non-profit broadband internet public utility.

“I could win this election. I may be the only Democrat who can win because I have the ability to reach out, because I don’t polarize. Because I know the aspirations of people without regard to party,” Kucinich said during an interview after he spoke to Democrats at the West Carrollton branch of the Dayton Metro Library.

Kucinich, who ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004 and 2008, believes he can bring Democrats who voted for President Donald Trump back to the fold.

Kucinich says he can win race for governor

RELATED: Ex-Congressman Dennis Kucinich to launch bid for governor

“When I look at my own congressional district the Democrats who went for Trump were concerned about trade, were concerned about war, were concerned about corruption in the government and the Democratic Party lost them. I can reach back to them and bring them back,” Kucinich said.

Democratic candidate Connie Pillich welcomes Kucinich to the race, said Eric Goldman, campaign manager for Pillich, a former state representative from Cincinnati.

“With that said, there is nothing in Kucinich's record that would demonstrate an appeal to Trump voters, swing voters, or disaffected Republicans,” Goldman said. “The Connie Pillich-Scott Schertzer team is the only Democratic ticket in this primary that has a history of appealing to voters from across the aisle and a track record of winning tough campaigns.”

Kucinich, 71, lost his congressional seat in 2012 to U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, after the Republican redistricting of 2011 put the two Democrats in the same district. He enters the governor’s race relatively late but has been traveling the state over the last year denouncing public funding for charter schools and in support of state Issue 2, the prescription drug ballot issue that failed in November.

RELATED: Kucinich goes after charter schools in Dayton area visit

With the Feb. 7 filing deadline for the May 8 primary approaching, the Democratic and Republican fields are solidifying.

Last week Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley withdrew from the Democratic primary and threw her support behind Richard Cordray, former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a former Ohio treasurer and attorney general. Cordray’s running mate is former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Akron.

Richard Cordray and Betty Sutton

RELATED: Dayton Mayor Whaley drops out of governor’s race

Also in the race are Pillich of  Cincinnati, and her running mate and Marion mayor, Schertzer; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, who is running with Ohio Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd; and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, whose running mate is Chantelle E. Lewis, a Lorain elementary school principal.

RELATED: O’Neill’s boast of sexual liaisons brings calls for his resignation

Mike DeWine and Jon Husted

The ballot is less crowded on the Republican side where Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate, Secretary of State Jon Husted, are opposed by Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and running mate Nathan Estruth, a Cincinnati businessman.

“We welcome Mr. Kucinich to the race. Our campaign looks forward to taking on whichever Democrat emerges from their crowded primary,” said Ryan Stubenrauch, campaign spokesperson for DeWine/Husted. “Mike DeWine and Jon Husted have the vision and plan to lead Ohio boldly into the future bringing more high-paying jobs, solving the opioid crisis and securing economic prosperity for all of Ohio.”

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LGBT bill picks up support in Ohio

Published: Wednesday, January 17, 2018 @ 4:05 PM


            State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, says advocates for gay rights have pushed bills for nearly a decade to protect LGBT Ohioans against discrimination in housing and jobs. She thinks a bill this session may stand a chance. LAURA A. BISCHOFF/PHOTO
            Laura A. Bischoff
State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, says advocates for gay rights have pushed bills for nearly a decade to protect LGBT Ohioans against discrimination in housing and jobs. She thinks a bill this session may stand a chance. LAURA A. BISCHOFF/PHOTO(Laura A. Bischoff)

For nearly 10 years, advocates for gay rights have pushed for legal changes that would protect LGBT Ohioans from discrimination in housing, jobs and places of public accommodation, but in each legislative session the efforts have stalled.

State Rep. Nickie Antonio, D-Lakewood, said this time around, though, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce is backing the bill, giving her hope that it’s an idea whose time has come.

“Ohio should join the 21st century. It’s time, more than time — and protect all of her people, including those from the LBGT community. Passing House Bill 160 would be a great step forward. It would be good for business, Ohio’s economy and also, it’s the right thing to do,” said Antonio.

Related: Kasich to GOP: Get out of the 1980’s

She noted that the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and businesses have pledged to testify in favor of the bill later this month.

The push for House Bill 160 comes at the same time the Human Rights Campaign released a state-by-state report on laws and policies that affect individuals who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

Sarah Warbelow, legal director for HRC, said the report grades states on what basic protections it provides residents and visitors when it comes to employment, housing, hate crimes, services to youths in foster care, bans on conversion therapy and other issues.

Ohio is among 28 states lacking non-discrimination protections for LGBT people in housing, employment and places of public accommodation, the report says. House Bill 160 would change the Ohio Civil Rights Law to add these protections and preserve all religious exemptions in current law, Antonio said.

Related: Does Ohio need a law protecting religious freedom?

The bill is backed by Ohio Business Competes, a coalition of some 300 businesses that support the changes.

While some employers and local communities have non-discrimination policies, Antonio said it’s time for a statewide law.

“Your ZIP Code should not determine whether you have equal rights and protections,” she said. “We should live in a state where someone can work in one community but decide to buy a home in another community and not look into their policies to find out whether or not their family will be welcome there. Come on, we can do better.”

Jordan: Clinton, not Trump, sought Russia help to influence election

Published: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 11:50 AM
Updated: Monday, January 15, 2018 @ 11:50 AM

Jim Jordan on WHIO

Rep. Jim Jordan has emerged as a top defender of President Donald Trump as the Justice Department’s Russia investigation continues, leading some to wonder if the GOP insurgent known for causing heartburn to the party establishment has become a surrogate for the president.

For Jordan, it’s very straightforward: He says it was the Hillary Clinton campaign — not the Trump campaign — that worked with Russia to influence the 2016 presidential election, namely by paying for the compilation of a dossier meant to embarrass Trump. Former FBI director James Comey testified in June that some of the information in that dossier was “salacious and unverified,” but Jordan argues that the FBI nonetheless used it to obtain warrants to spy on Trump campaign officials.

RELATED: Jordan, Davidson at odds with GOP over spy bill

He began questioning the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller last month, spurring headlines when he told Fox News that “everything points to the fact that there was an orchestrated plan to try to prevent Donald Trump from becoming the next president of the United States.”

He amplified those comments in January, publishing a piece with Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., in the Washington Examiner that urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to step down because of Justice Department leaks regarding the case.

Jordan has been so upfront with his criticism of the Russia investigation that CNN host John Berman, in a recent interview with Jordan, asked him if he was coordinating talking points with the White House.

“Of course not,” Jordan said.

‘Key moment in history’

Whether Jordan is motivated by the dedication of a dogged true believer or whether he’s doing it to get in good graces with the Trump administration has stirred plenty of debate.

A Capitol Hill Republican who declined to be named so he could speak candidly said Jordan’s criticism of the investigation is part of a larger effort aimed at positioning the Freedom Caucus, led by Jordan, for a leadership role in the next Congress.

“This whole mop-up duty for the president is jockeying for the next Congress and leadership,” he said.

REALTED: Ex Speaker Boehner goes off on Jordan

But others say Jordan’s full-throated criticism of the investigation comes from sincerity.

“If I know anything about Jim Jordan, it’s that he sticks to his guns, sticks to his principles,” said former Ohio GOP chairman Matt Borges, who has been a critic of Trump. “I think he says that stuff because he believes it.”

Democrats accuse Jordan of serving as a surrogate for Trump.

“This will be his legacy,” Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said. “This is a key moment in history. We know another government interfered with our election and he was one of the congressmen working to stop the American people from knowing what happened…we all should want answers to what happened.”

Jordan: ‘You cannot do that in America’

In an interview, Jordan defending his recent statements, saying the Russia investigation was started under flawed circumstances. He has worked to point out problems with the investigation, including the fact that the FBI began its investigation based on a dossier compiled out of research paid for by the Clinton campaign.

“If the FBI took an opposition research document that was unsubstantiated, that was paid for by the Clinton campaign and dressed it up like legitimate intelligence — you cannot do that in America,” he said.

Jordan said he is also concerned about text messages exchanged by two top FBI officers who were having an extramarital affair. One of the officers, Peter Strzock, ran both the investigation of whether Clinton downloaded classified information on her personal email server as well as the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the campaign.

Strzock last year was removed from the Russia probe over the text messages, one of which called the possibility of a Trump victory “terrifying” and another referring to an “insurance policy” in case he was elected.

Jordan said he thinks the “insurance policy” Strzock referred to was the dossier.

Sounding much like Trump himself, who accused Strzock of treason last week, Jordan said: “To date, we have not one bit of evidence that shows there was coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the election. But we have hard facts that say the Clinton campaign paid Russia to do what? Influence the election — to gather material to influence the election” in Clinton’s favor.

Frequent critic

This is far from the first time Jordan has become entrenched in a controversial congressional investigation, or fired spears at the opposition party. He was a key critic of accusations that the IRS unfairly denied tax-exempt status to tea party organizations, and he was among the most vocal on the 2015 House investigation of 2012 attacks on an embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

Rep. Warren Davidson, a Troy Republican who is a close ally of Jordan’s, dismisses the notion that Jordan’s investigations are partisan, saying he has been equally hard on GOP Attorney General Jeff Sessions as he was on Obama attorney generals Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder.

“It seems like that this is an investigation about Trump, and in reality, the purpose of this investigation is to understand how Russia tried to influence our elections,” Davidson said.

Meadows, chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which Jordan helped found, said Jordan “believes the government should be there to serve the people but not pick winners and losers…he’s been consistent with trying to make sure he holds the government accountable.”

But Pepper described a different Jordan, one who “is literally buying into the most extreme of the conspiracy theories.”

“It’s one thing just to have that opinion,” he said. “But that’s not just his opinion. He’s actively involved in very concrete ways to being a roadblock to an investigation of something serious.”

Local Republicans Jordan, Davidson at odds with party over spy bill

Published: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 7:05 PM
Updated: Friday, January 12, 2018 @ 7:05 PM

Congressmen Warren Davidson and Jim Jordan
Congressmen Warren Davidson and Jim Jordan

When the Republican-controlled U.S. House this week approved an extension of a National Security Agency program that permits the agency to monitor phone calls and e-mails between foreigners abroad and Americans, local Republicans Warren Davidson of Troy and Jim Jordan of Urbana were among the 164 lawmakers to vote no.

RELATED: House OKs spy program after conflicting Trump tweets

They were also the only two Ohio Republicans to oppose the measure. That put Jordan and Davidson in unusual company, aligned with liberal Democrats.

The bill, which now goes to the Senate where passage is expected..

Opponents say the measure risks the civil liberties of Americans while backers insist the NSA needs the authority to prevent future terrorist attacks. The bill extends a law originally approved in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York and suburban Washington.

In a floor speech during the debate, Davidson said “the foreign enemies of our country are not subject to the protections of our Constitution. American citizens, however are.”

He accused the bill’s backers of ignoring the Fourth Amendment, which protects Americans against unreasonable searches and seizures. “It is your data that is at subject here,” Davidson said. “The Fourth Amendment does not change when communications shift from postal service … to a data base.”

The two Ohio Republicans supported an amendment that would have forced the federal government to seek a warrant before searching data for information on Americans. Fifty-six other Republicans joined Jordan and Davidson, but a coalition of 178 Republicans and 55 Democrats defeated the amendment.

The House then voted 256-to-164 to pass the overall bill.