© 2022 WKSU
Public Radio News for Northeast Ohio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Two of Ohio's Top Democratic Candidates Disagree on Issue 1

photo of Steve Dettelbach
Steve Dettelbach is running for Ohio attorney general.

A nominee for statewide office is breaking away from the top of the ticket when it comes to Issue 1. The constitutional amendment would reduce criminal sentences for non-violent drug offenders, and it’s becoming a major issue for several campaigns.

Democratic Attorney General nominee Steve Dettelbach said he will vote no on Issue 1, because while it’s a worthy cause, putting it in the state constitution makes it too difficult to amend. This puts Dettelbach at odds with Democrat gubernatorial nominee Richard Cordray, who supports Issue 1.

Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson David DeWitt said their candidates may not see “every issue the exact same way” but they’re all committed to increased treatment and criminal justice reform.

Dettelbach’s Republican opponent Dave Yost is also against Issue 1 but criticized Dettelbach for taking weeks to come to this conclusion. Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine has made his opposition to Issue 1 a main talking point in his campaign against Cordray.

DeWitt's statement
"While our candidates up and down the ticket may not see every issue the exact same way, Democrats as a whole are committed to increased treatment, public safety and criminal justice reform, whether it be through Issue 1 or other reforms or legislation. The woeful failure of Mike DeWine and current state leadership to address the crisis in a serious manner has left Ohio in a terrible place, and with new leadership across the board, we are eager to fix it."

"The Ohio Democratic Party has not taken a formal position on Issue 1. Under Chairman Pepper, decisions on whether to consider and endorse constitutional amendments are left to our governing body, the executive committee."

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.