COLUMBUS (AP) — The Ohio Republican Party has picked sides between two sitting statewide officeholders in an increasingly bitter primary for governor.
In a vote Friday, Attorney General Mike DeWine won the party’s coveted endorsement over Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who was term-limited Gov. John Kasich’s two-time running mate.
Before the 59-2 vote, Taylor delivered an impassioned speech calling DeWine a “career politician” and “shill for the entrenched special interests.”
She said the endorsement process was rife with “good old boy bullying and backroom deals.”
DeWine said his campaign is about “building a better future for Ohio by fighting the status quo and working to solve Ohio’s biggest issues.”
The endorsement means DeWine and his running mate, Secretary of State Jon Husted, will appear on party slate cards delivered to Republican voters.
Dems group eyes Ohio
A Democratic group backed by former President Barack Obama said this week it plans to invest millions of dollars in state-level elections in 11 states this year, with its heaviest focus on Ohio.
The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, led by former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, said this year’s election cycle is critical to affecting the congressional redistricting process. It is the first cycle whose winners will participate in drawing congressional maps for the decade starting in 2021.
The push comes amid bipartisan national concern that political gerrymandering, the process of drawing maps that benefit one party over another, has led to partisanship, gridlock and incivility in Washington.
In Ohio, a perennial political battleground, the committee plans to support Democrats for five offices — governor, auditor, secretary of state, Ohio Senate and Ohio House — as well as pushing a redistricting ballot measure. .
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, also has been championing redistricting reforms, including working with fellow Republican, movie star and ex-California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminate Gerrymandering Crowdpac.
Ohio lawmakers sent a bipartisan redistricting compromise to the statewide May ballot in a vote this week.