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Renacci, Whaley challenge DeWine in 2022 Ohio election

Published: Aug. 2, 2021 at 6:57 PM EDT
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MARIETTA, Ohio (WTAP) - : Gov. Mike DeWine was on TV every day in the early weeks of the pandemic in March and April of 2020. Much of that was to close “non-essential” businesses, seen by many as a blow to the state’s economy. That eventually got pushback from Republican legislators, particularly in smaller counties not immediately affected by COVID-19.

Jim Renacci, who had a surprisingly strong showing against Democrat Sherrod Brown in a 2018 U.S. Senate race, has entered the 2022 governor’s race as DeWine’s contender.

“He shut down the earliest, and the most draconian, and he came out only because the state legislature said, ‘if you don’t come out of this in June, we’re going to bring you out’, because they passed laws,” Renacci said during a visit to Marietta Monday.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley has a different issue: the 2019 mass shooting in her city. When DeWine visited Dayton after the shooting, residents famously shouted at him. “do something”.

DeWine’s response has been a proposal to tighten gun restrictions, among people having prior criminal convictions. The proposal has gone nowhere in the Ohio Legislature. Whaley, meantime, spoke out against the governor’s signing of a “Stand Your Ground” law passed by the legislature late last year.

“Being kind to these guys and saying, ‘oh, please’, isn’t going to make it happen,” Democrat Whaley, who earlier this year announced her candidacy for governor, said during a recent appearance on CNN. “I think because he needs them in his party, in his primary, is a different situation than a Democrat who doesn’t need them for that.”

Renacci and Whaley are also both trying to tie DeWine to the controversial rescue in 2019 of Ohio’s two nuclear power plants, which brought down Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, the only person facing criminal charges. (Householder, who also was removed from his seat in the legislature, has denied wrongdoing.)

“I think (DeWine)’s going to scare people because his money and his background,” Renacci said Monday. “But if you look at where the money’s coming from, we know in the last election, a lot of money came from First Energy.”

Renacci hopes Ohio voters remember the issues both challengers are raising, with the Ohio primary still nine months away.

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