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Government & Politics

Conservative Group Targets Ohio for Death Penalty Repeal

photo of Death penalty bed
Gov. Mike DeWine has delayed all executions because the state cannot acquire the drugs to carry them out.

A national group of conservatives that opposes capital punishment has made Ohio the 14th state for its campaign to repeal the death penalty. The group says the time is right to come to Ohio, which has been one of the leading states for executions.

Republicans with Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty say it’s inconsistent with pro-life views, is too expensive and is a failed government policy riddled with errors and inefficiency. There are only three current officeholders on the group’s Ohio member list. But longtime GOP strategist Michael Hartley says those who are and will be involved eventually are influential.

“I’ll go to war with those folks any damn day, because all we do and have done is win in Ohio,” Hartley says.

House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) has said the cost has made him less supportive of the death penalty, and Gov. Mike DeWine has delayed executions since taking office, saying finding drugs are a problem. But prosecutors strongly oppose repeal.

There are 35 Ohioans who’ve signed onto the group Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty, including former Gov. Bob Taft, former attorney general Jim Petro and former congressman Pat Tiberi . But only three are current officeholders who could propose or vote on a repeal. One is Rep. Laura Lanese (R-Grove City), the House majority whip.

Lanese talks about how the issue is gaining traction.

“We’re starting to hear from the leadership at this state, and I think that’s where it’s got to start. And I do hear it among my colleagues. I just saw one of them in here a few minutes ago who’s very passionate about this issue, and I do think we will see more conservatives getting on board with this,” Lanese says.