What they’re saying: DeWine-Husted ticket draws strong Ohio reactions

Mike DeWine and Jon Husted will run as a ticket for Ohio governor, the Republicans announced Thursday at the University of Dayton.

DeWine, the state attorney general, will run for governor and Husted, the secretary of state, will seek to become lieutenant governor.

MORE: DeWine-Husted ticket called governor’s race ‘dream team’

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

On the Democratic side 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.

Here is reaction from political experts, candidates and leaders in both parties:


Political experts

Bob Taft, former Ohio governor, current University of Dayton professor

Taft, a Republican, said the DeWine/Husted ticket reminded him of the 1989 primary when George Voinovich, DeWine and him 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 said the DeWine/Husted ticket will be “very strong,” but did not rule out a competitive Democratic primary and general election challenge. Democrat Rich Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, could announce a campaign for governor in coming days.

“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 Cordray gets in.”

Kyle Kondik, University of Virginia Center for Politics political analyst

“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.”

MORE: Mary Taylor to continue bid to become governor


Republican governor candidates

Congressman Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth

“Today you have probably heard the announcement that two career politicians have joined forces,” said Renacci in a video to supporters. “Many of you who were Jon Husted supporters were disenchanted with Mike DeWine as your next governor and you turned to Jon Husted because you didn’t know me. But after today’s announcement, Jon Husted is no longer in the race and your choice is clear between Mike DeWine and Jim Renacci.”

Renacci said he is “the only Republican who can win against Cordray.” In 2010, DeWine beat Cordray to become Ohio attorney general.

Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor

“Today I want to assure Ohioans that I am in this race because I care deeply and passionately about our state. And I am in it to win,” said Taylor in a statement. “Today’s announcement by my opponent is great news for political consultants and lobbyists. But those aren’t the people I support. I speak for the people. Mike DeWine is the past. I will fight for Ohio’s future.”

“The election of Donald Trump sent a message to career politicians everywhere – if you continue to go along to get along we will replace you,” she said. “Replace you with women and men who are capable of the bold, decisive action this state needs to realize the future it deserves.”

MORE: Former Ohio AG Cordray to announce governor run, sources say


Democratic governor candidates

Connie Pillich, former state representative

“The DeWine-Husted ticket is nothing more than a coronation of the failed Republican status quo that has left our state broken. A vote for DeWine-Husted is a vote to continue a culture of handouts to the special interests, while ignoring working people. Ohioans are ready for a change and that’s exactly what I will deliver.”

State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman

“I think it’s two career politicians that have worked in the legislature, worked in the statehouse, and they’ve always had the power and they’ve always really focused on trying to help their friends instead of trying to help the people in the state,” Schiavoni said.

“I don’t know what Rich Cordray’s thinking and I don’t know what his game plan is, because he hasn’t even announced his run,” Schiavoni said. “I hope there is a true primary on the Democratic side because people want options and they don’t want to be force-fed a candidate.”

Betty Sutton, former congresswoman, D-Barberton

“Honestly, it’s not surprising to me that these two insiders would team up,” Sutton said in a statement to supporters. “The Republican ticket for governor of stale and staler means that Ohio government would remain on the side of big corporations and not people. Theirs is a ticket of the past, not the future of Ohio. My bold vision to make Ohio the opportunity state offers a stark contrast for the voters next November — status quo vs. change.”

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley

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.”


Other Republicans

Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, Montgomery County Republican Party chairman

Plummer said both DeWine and Husted are “two people who will do the job they signed up to do.”

“They’re just great people. Great family values, very hard workers. These are not two guys that are looking for their next job. These are two compassionate guys that want to do great things for the state of Ohio.”

“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.”

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg

“Next year’s election is critically important for Ohio’s future, and I believe a Republican must win the governor’s race,” Antani said.

“As one of Jon Husted’s first supporters in the governor’s race, I am thankful for his selflessness and I know he will serve Ohio well as our next lieutenant governor,” he said.


Other Democrats

David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party chairman

“Mike DeWine and Jon Husted are the worst possible ticket to deliver change in Columbus,” Pepper said.

“It’s not a surprise to see them team up; they are part of the status quo Columbus insiders who have left behind so many communities and families across our state in the decades they’ve been in office.”

Melissa Miller, Democratic Governors Association spokeswoman

“Ohio voters are ready for change, not the failed status quo of the same-old DeWine-Husted ticket,” Miller said. Now that DeWine and Husted have put aside their petty insults and joined forces, the race to the right is on.”

In a statement, Miller alleged Husted and DeWine have spent time “cozying up to President Trump” and “endorsing far-right positions such as undoing Gov. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion.”

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