Morning Headlines: Cleveland Businessman Enters 2022 Race for Portman’s Senate Seat; Ohio Supreme Court Backs LaRose in Lorain Board of Elections Decision
Here are your morning headlines for Wednesday, April 7:
- One candidate in, another out of 2022 race for Portman’s Senate seat
- Ohio Supreme Court backs LaRose in Lorain Board of Elections decision
- No ruling yet on Summit Board of Elections appointment
- Ohio State Patrol preparing for White Lives Matter protest Sunday in Columbus
- Report details personal spending by former Columbus Zoo official
- Lawmaker proposes legislation to gut new Stand Your Ground law
- Voters may be asked to support bond issue for water improvement projects
- Ohio ranks 47 out of the 50 states on latest health value dashboard
One candidate in, another out of 2022 race for Portman’s Senate seat
Cleveland auto dealer and blockchain evangelist Bernie Moreno has officially announced he’s running for U.S. Senate. Moreno is positioning himself as a political outsider, in the mold of former President Donald Trump. Moreno joins an increasingly crowded field of GOP contenders seeking to fill the seat being vacated by Rob Portman, who decided not to run again. They include former state party chair Jane Timken, former Secretary of State Josh Mandel, and Businessman Mike Gibbons. Meanwhile, former Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton announced she will not seek the open Senate seat. Activists had been trying to lure Acton into the race on the Democratic side. She amassed a following guiding the state’s early response to the coronavirus pandemic. She stepped down from the health department after increasing threats from those opposed to restrictions meant to curtail the spread of the coronavirus. In a statement announcing her decision, Acton said Ohioans are longing for honest and accountable leadership.
Ohio Supreme Court backs LaRose in Lorain Board of Elections decision
The Ohio Supreme Court says Secretary of State Frank LaRose was within his rights to block a Democratic appointee to the Lorain County Board of Elections. Last month, LaRose rejected the nomination of former Lorain County Commissioner Sharon Sweda to the board. The Republican secretary of state said Sweda had used her county email to talk campaign business. Sweda told the Elyria Chronicle Telegram that she inadvertently replied to emails using her county address on her smartphone. The county Democratic Party challenged LaRose’s move, but the court sided with him 6-1, with two of the court’s three Democrats in the majority.
No ruling yet on Summit Board of Elections appointment
More than 700 pages of testimony and evidence were filed Monday in a dispute involving the Summit County Board of Elections. The Beacon Journal reports the items included testimony from Frank LaRose, who rejected Republican Bryan Williams’ reappointment to the board saying the BOE operation lacked proper management and staff training. Williams and the Summit County GOP filed a lawsuit protesting LaRose’s decision. The seat remains vacant and LaRose’s office said it will not appoint someone until the case is settled. The Ohio Supreme Court has expedited the case to try to resolve it before the May primary.
State Highway Patrol preparing for White Lives Matter protest Sunday in Columbus
Separatist groups using the hashtag “White Lives Matter” are protesting throughout the nation this week. One such group plans to gather at the Ohio Statehouse. Ohio Highway Patrol Staff Lieutenant Craig Cvetan says the state highway patrol is aware of a group that plans to gather at the Ohio Statehouse Sunday. He says the patrol will be present to keep people safe and protect property. Details about the event are still scarce, but there has been talk on social media about a demonstration Sunday.
Lawmaker proposes legislation to gut new Stand Your Ground law
Ohio’s new “Stand Your Ground” law took effect Tuesday but already a bill has been introduced at the Statehouse that would gut it. Rep. Adam Miller (D-Columbus) says he’s hearing from ordinary Ohioans as well as business groups that are discouraged about the law that removes the duty to retreat before firing a gun at someone. “Joe and Suzanne Buckeye were not pounding on the Statehouse doors, saying ‘We need more extreme firearms legislation,’” Miller said. He has introduced a bill that would restore the duty to retreat when using a firearm in self-defense. Until now, someone who fired a gun at another had to prove they were acting in self-defense. The Stand Your Ground law requires the state to prove that someone wasn’t acting in self-defense.
Report details personal spending by former Columbus Zoo official
A report released Tuesday evening reveals details on how two former Columbus Zoo officials misspent zoo dollars. It found the former president and chief financial officer arranged for relatives to live in zoo-owned houses and took zoo-paid tickets to sporting events for personal use without reimbursement. The report, from the law firm Porter Wright, also said the president made exclusive use of a $45,000 RV purchased by the zoo before it was sold to recoup revenue lost because of the pandemic. The report followed a Columbus Dispatch investigation that uncovered the allegations.
Voters may be asked to support bond issue for water improvement projects
A bipartisan bill in the Ohio legislature would authorize major investments in Ohio’s water treatment infrastructure. Cleveland.com reports that the $1 billion bond measure would need voter approval. It authorizes the state to spend $100 million per year over the next decade to improve wastewater systems, watersheds, and water sources. It’s a package that Gov. Mike DeWine initially articulated in 2019 under his H2Ohio program. Backers say borrowing the funds would free up money in the state’s budget for other priorities. If approved it could appear on next year’s November ballot.
Ohio ranks 47 out of the 50 states on latest health value dashboard
Ohio again sits near the bottom in a nationwide list of health rankings. The latest “health value dashboard” generated by the Columbus-based Health Policy Institute ranks the Buckeye state 47 out of 50. Ohio's low standing is based largely on inequities in healthcare, a lack of prevention efforts, and childhood adversity and trauma in the state. This year’s ranking is not an outlier. Ohio has consistently ranked near the bottom of the dashboard based on a combination of public health access and health care spending by the state.