“Face of A Losing Effort:” Frank LaRose’s Close Ties to State Issue 1 Continue to Backfire
August 6, 2023
2 days until Ohioans decide on LaRose’s amendment
Ohioans will decide on Frank LaRose’s amendment in two days and LaRose’s “central role” in State Issue 1 is front and center, escalating infighting in the Ohio Senate slugfest and suffocating his Senate campaign – which launched “right as the Issue 1 homestretch began.”
LaRose’s admission that State Issue 1 is “100%” about abortion continues to haunt him as he “face[s] scrutiny – on the right and the left – for emphasizing the abortion angle.” LaRose is also taking heat for missteps made while closely tying himself to State Issue 1 and has been criticized for his “divided focus between his political ambitions and the special election he is responsible for administering.”
“No matter the outcome, Frank LaRose made himself the biggest loser and is now the face of an effort designed to help special interests and silence Ohioans,” said Reeves Oyster, Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson.
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- The first battle of Ohio’s Senate race — already awash in hostilities among the three Republicans angling to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2024 — arrives Tuesday with a special election on a hot-button ballot measure.
- LaRose’s central role in the ballot measure campaign has emerged as a tension point in the Senate primary. Losing would do little to ease those feelings.
- LaRose also is facing scrutiny — on the right and the left — for emphasizing the abortion angle ahead of Tuesday’s vote, as well as for what his critics call a divided focus between his political ambitions and the special election he is responsible for administering.
- “If the issue fails, LaRose will have spent the vital early days of his campaign as the face of a losing effort and he will be open to criticism from the already skeptical conservative base.”
- He rang alarm bells last week, though, when his Senate campaign called on businessman Bernie Moreno and state Sen. Matt Dolan — the other Republicans seeking the seat — to each contribute $1 million to the effort in support of Issue 1.
- “It’s really sad that days before the monumental Issue 1 vote, Frank is spending his time humiliating himself and attacking fellow Republicans to the mainstream media,” Moreno spokesperson Conor McGuinness said. “While too many career politicians only seem to care about getting credit to advance their political careers, the only thing Bernie cares about is doing everything in his power to ensure Issue 1 passes.”
- LaRose also is under scrutiny for how he’s talked about Issue 1 and how his office has administered the special election. Just last year, he characterized August elections as a shady way to pass ballot measures while voters are on summer vacation and paying little attention. (Statewide issues, he has since argued, are different because they generate widespread media coverage.) And Moreno has grumbled about LaRose’s comments at a spring GOP function, at which he described the Issue 1 vote in part as being “100% about keeping a radical pro-abortion amendment” out of the Ohio Constitution.
- “He said it’s 100% about abortion, which has screwed up the messaging, because it’s 100% about protecting the Constitution,” Moreno said last month on the Common Sense Ohio podcast.
- More recent problems include a scramble to secure enough poll workers before Tuesday’s vote and an email to voters from LaRose’s office last week that gave the wrong date for the special election. Critics wonder if LaRose is distracted or spread too thin. He announced his Senate campaign three weeks ago, right as the Issue 1 homestretch began.