COLUMBUS — (UPDATE @ 5:50 p.m.): The draft resolution to impeach Gov. Mike DeWine is “an imprudent attempt to escalate important policy disagreements with the Governor into a state constitutional crisis,” House Speaker Robert Cupp, R-Lima, said Monday afternoon.
“Even serious policy disagreements do not rise to the level of impeachment under our constitution,” Cupp said in a prepared statement issued after he said he had time to read and consider the draft announced “by a couple of members.”
Cupp said, “Legitimate debate and disagreement is occurring over the scope and breadth of some of the governor’s orders issued through the health department. I will continue to raise my concerns and disagreements and those of House members with the governor. However, informed dialogue and the law-making process are the best way to resolve these issues.
“There is much work to do to revive Ohio’s economy, provide the testing and health care that those affected by COVID-19 need, and restart a high level of learning in our schools. We should be united in working on these efforts instead,” the speaker said.
Articles of impeachment have been drafted seeking the removal of Gov. Mike DeWine from office over his and the state’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Two area lawmakers, Candice Keller, R-Middletown and Nino Vitale R-Urbana, are among those supporting efforts to remove DeWine from office.
It is believed the chances for DeWine to be removed from office are slim. Clermont County representative John Becker, R-Union Township, said DeWine’s detractors don’t have enough votes to remove the governor right now, Becker said in a report by The Cincinnati Enquirer.
According to the Ohio Constitution, the House of Representatives have the sole power of impeachment, but the majority of the members would need to support the measure for DeWine to be impeached for it to advance. If the measure advanced, a trial would be handled in the Ohio Senate, with at least two-thirds of the senators voting for impeachment before DeWine would be removed from office.
“The governor is focused on saving lives during a pandemic. He’s focused on helping our economy during this pandemic. That’s what he’s focused on. Not this,” a spokesperson for the governor’s office told News Center 7′s Jim Otte.
Leaders for both the Ohio Republican and Democratic parties denounced the move by those supporting the proposed measure.
“In a time of harsh political division, and an important election year, Republicans should be united,” Ohio GOP Chairman Jane Timken said in an emailed statement. “Ohio and the world have witnessed an unprecedented global pandemic - one that Governor DeWine has done a great job at leading us through. The attack by John Becker and his allies is a baseless, feeble attempt at creating attention for themselves.”
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper criticized some GOP members for wanting to keep former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder in power following his indictment on bribery charges, but now wanting to impeach DeWine.
“The Ohio GOP’s message to voters is clear -- corruption and bribery are A-OK with us, but having the audacity to listen to public health experts during a global pandemic is an impeachable offense,” Pepper said.
This is a developing story and we’ll update this page with more details as they become available.