News Today – Culture war clashes figure to be a political mainstay in 2022 Ohio elections: Capitol Letter

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Culture club: The culture wars against critical race theory, and mask and vaccine policies that appeared in local school board races will continue in 2022 in races for the U.S. Senate, the governor, the Ohio General Assembly and state and local school boards. Republicans lost suburban voters, in particular white women, when Donald Trump was president, and are trying to win them back, Laura Hancock reports.

Outside again: Gov. Mike DeWine made his first public appearance since being exposed to coronavirus last week, visiting Cleveland to give an update on the city’s “Innovation District,” Eric Heisig reports. DeWine, as well as First Lady Fran DeWine, spent most of the past week at home in Cedarville after coming in close contact with two staffers who tested positive for COVID-19.

In lighter news: Starting next Fourth of July weekend, Ohioans will be able to legally able to set off consumer-grade fireworks on many public holidays, under legislation signed by Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday that ends a long-standing (and long-ignored) statewide ban. As Jeremy Pelzer reports, the signing of House Bill 172 means that, at the start of 2023, the state will issue new fireworks manufacturing and wholesale retail licenses for the first time in more than 20 years.

We’re in the money: Ohio’s casinos and racinos continue to reap record revenues, posting $192.7 million in gambling revenue in October, Sean McDonnell reports. That’s a 14% increase over the $169.1 million made last October and a 22% increase over October 2019.

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Back at it: The 2021 elections may be over, but as Seth Richardson writes, that doesn’t mean voters get a break. With just six months until the primary elections, Richardson previews the races for governor, senator, supreme court and more.

All in the Family: The Federal Election Commission on Sunday flagged Rocky River Republican congressional candidate Max Miller’s campaign for accepting campaign contributions that exceed maximum allowable amounts from the candidate’s mother, Barbara Miller, and his future in-laws, car dealer and U.S. Senate candidate Bernie Moreno and his wife, Bridget. Individuals aren’t allowed to give more than $2,900 to a candidate in a given election. The FEC letter said Bernie Moreno gave double the allowable amount to Miller’s general and primary bid by donating under the names “Bernie” and “Bernardo,” while Bridget Moreno and Barbara Miller exceeded the maximum by lesser amounts. FEC also inquired about an $8,700 primary election donation from Texan Joseph Agresti. Cleveland.com has reached out to Miller’s campaign for a comment.

Race to the top: Turnout in Hamilton County localities with contentious school board races — driven largely by the anger over critical race theory — was much higher than in previous years, an indication that school board races were a significant turnout driver, the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Scott Wartman reports. While Cincinnati, with competitive mayoral and city council races, only reached 24% turnout, in some places like Wyoming brought turnout to 50% or more.

Democrat divide: While most of the chaos in the Senate race has been on the Republican side, some liberals in the Democratic Party are upset that the party apparatus has seemingly gotten behind Rep. Tim Ryan’s bid, the Columbus Dispatch’s Haley BeMiller reports. That includes Adrienne Hood, a Franklin County Democratic Party central committee member, who thought the Democrats were trotting out a similar statewide candidate to the ones that have failed repeatedly over the past decade. Instead, they’d like to see a more open competition between Ryan and liberal challenger Morgan Harper.

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Finish your plate: The Bureau of Motor Vehicles has sent out letters to owners of the “Ohio Gold” license plates saying the plates will need to be removed from circulation for public safety reasons, the Columbus Dispatch’s Titus Wu reports. The plates were issued from 1997 through 2001 and around 236,000 are still in use. Some owners of the simply designed plates said they aren’t happy and don’t think the states’ reasoning — that they are difficult to read — is true.

Bomb threats: Both Ohio University and Miami University investigated bomb threats over the weekend, according to WLWT-TV. While police determined they were hoaxes, a second round of threats at Ivy League Schools followed Sunday. Officials didn’t say if there is any connection between the multi-campus threats.

Five things we learned from the April 29 financial disclosure form of state Sen. Sandra O’Brien, an Ashtabula Republican.

1. A newly elected member, O’Brien’s lone source of income was her Ohio Public Employee Retirement System pay of $50,000 to $99,999.

2. O’Brien’s reported investments of her OPERS retirement fund and an IRA through American Financial Services.

3. At some point in 2020, O’Brien owed more than $1,000 to Capital One.

4. At some point in 2020, O’Brien’s campaign owed her $47,262.

5. O’Brien did not report any investment real estate or gifts worth more than $75.

State Rep. David Leland, a Columbus Democrat, announced Monday he’s running for Ohio 10th District Court of Appeals, which hears cases originating in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas.

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U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown

Ohio House Speaker Bob Cupp

Willa Bluestone, legislative aide to state Rep. Scott Lipps

“I was delighted that the House finally found a way to pass the infrastructure bill last week. This will be the first time I’ve come up here in a quarter of century when I thought maybe there was a way forward on the Brent Spence bridge.”

-U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican, quoted in a tweet by CNN’s Kaitlan Collins on the recently passed infrastructure bill.

Capitol Letter is a daily briefing providing succinct, timely information for those who care deeply about the decisions made by state government. If you do not already subscribe, you can sign up here to get Capitol Letter in your email box each weekday for free.





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