The general assumption is that Republican Gov. Mike DeWine has little to fear from a Conservative challenge in next year’s Republican primary elections. But DeWine may think otherwise, given some recent signals.
DeWine’s most likely main enemy could be former US Representative Jim Renacci of Wadsworth of Cleveland.
Renacci was the 2018 GOP candidate for US Senator. He challenged incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown of Cleveland. Renacci drew 47% of the vote statewide against 53% for Brown. Meanwhile, âconstitutional conservativeâ Republican Joe Blystone, from East Liverpool now from Winchester Canal, has announced he will challenge DeWine.
DeWine is very conservative – but not conservative enough for some of the loudest Republican mouths in the General Assembly. To his GOP critics, DeWine was obviously supposed to ignore COVID-19.
If he had, many more Ohioans than otherwise would have died. But hey, that’s better than angering the summer soldiers and sun patriots speaking out at the county seat barbershop, right?
DeWine, independently wealthy and no slouch in fundraising, has, or will have, as large a campaign fund as he needs, regardless of the amount. But the governor obviously takes nothing for granted.
Consider this malicious gesture by great Americans in the Ohio General Assembly. As introduced (by budgetary aid from DeWine), the two-year State operating budget, Bill 110 House, aimed to clean up some outdated legal terms. Example: The Legislative Services Commission noted that the bill, as drafted, â(amended) a reference regarding who can adopt a child from ‘husband and wife’ to ‘legally married couple. “
Since the Obergefell v. Hodges of the United States Supreme Court of June 26, 2015, originally from Ohio, the right to marry is constitutionally guaranteed to same-sex couples. But the diehards of the General Assembly – the kind of people who think King Canute should have been able to order the tides back – insulted LGBTQs in Ohio by refusing to accept the governor’s proposed revised code update.
DeWine couldn’t do anything about it; a governor cannot veto what has not happened. But what happened next suggests that DeWine got the message from the yahoos loud and clear.
Senate Republicans added a “conscience” exemption to Ohio law. In short, he says that doctors and other medical professionals can refuse to provide or help with measures that violate their conscience. Examples: Abortion, sterilization and sex reassignment procedures (LGBTQ gender reassignment).
Point 1: federal law already protects healthcare professionals who oppose abortion and sterilization.
Point 2: Regarding gender reassignment, in practice, would anyone seeking such treatment want an anti-gender reassignment health professional to be part of the treatment team?
Of course not.
Senate antics is just another way of saying LGBTQ people they are not welcome in Ohio.
DeWine could and should have vetoed the misnamed “conscience” amendment, not least because he was unhappy that one of his early budget ideas (relevant to how foreigners view Ohio) was criticized and rejected.
DeWine wanted to budget $ 50 million over two years ($ 25 million over each of the two years of the budget) for a campaign to encourage residents of other states, especially those on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, to relocate to Ohio.
Well, even $ 50 million can’t get over a title like this, July 7 in Rolling Stone: “Ohio allows doctors to deny health care to LGBTQ people on moral grounds.” Yeah, that’s gonna make the younger kids want to move or stay in Ohio.
Then there was DeWine’s approval of Senate Bill 52 which, in a nutshell, would give county commissioners the power to block or at least erase proposed wind power or solar energy projects.
County commissioners cannot block nuclear power plants. They also cannot block coal-fired power plants. And not a single local official in Ohio can do anything if an oil or gas company wants to drill a well in your backyard. In 2004, the legislature reserved power over oil and gas drilling for state officials in Columbus.
Why the double standard? Well, oil and gas and coal is yesterday. Solar and wind power is tomorrow.
And time and time again, as governors stand by, the General Assembly – at the expense of the Ohioans – opts for yesterday. Not tomorrow.
Thomas Suddes is a former legislative reporter with The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and writes from Ohio University. [email protected]