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Do GOP leaders stand with Trump, or Ohio?


TO: Ohio Press

FROM: Michael McGovern, ProgressOhio

DATE: September 29, 2020

RE: Questions for Ohio GOP Leaders Following the Debate 

As the presidential candidates meet tonight in Cleveland for the first debate, we can all safely assume that President Trump, when asked about voting or the peaceful transition of power, will surely say something false, offensive, or even dangerous. 

We hope that when he does, you will press Ohio Republican leaders to truly explain whether they stand with Trump or our core democratic values. Wishy washy officials like Gov. Mike DeWine, Sen. Rob Portman, and Secretary of State Frank LaRose have happily enabled Trump when it suits them, while declining any opportunity to show real independence and courage. If they refuse to denounce his attacks on our democracy, they need to be held to account by the media. 

When Trump does say something about voting or the transition of power, we have a few ideas of the questions Ohio Republicans need to answer:

Will they follow Trump’s orders, or Ohio law? If Trump again argues that votes should not be counted after election day, will LaRose and DeWine commit to uphold Ohio law and count any ballot postmarked by November 2?

What’s more important, LaRose’s role as our top elections official, or the R next to his name? If Trump attacks mail-in absentee voting or makes unfounded charges of voter fraud, will LaRose – who keeps making voting harder during a pandemic – forcefully denounce him? 

Will they promise not to steal this election? Will LaRose, DeWine, and other Ohio Republicans fight attempts to appoint electors who do not represent the outcome of the popular vote? Will Portman refuse to recognize electors who do not represent the outcome of a state’s popular vote in the Senate? 

Ohio Republican leaders owe us real answers about whether they stand with us, or Donald Trump. There is no better time to ask them than when the president is here in Ohio. 

One of the core pillars of Ohio GOP corruption of the last twenty years has been a willingness to bypass accepted norms to advance their power. Will tonight be any different?