It is no secret that Mary Taylor is doing everything she can, save literally shouting from the rooftops, to get voters on her side.
She has been relentless on the campaign trail and attacks opponent Mike DeWine’s record at every turn, while questioning why he will not agree to a traditional debate.
DeWine’s camp is content to keep their train on the tracks they have been traveling on, issuing measured responses to Taylors jabs in an effort not to look like they are taking the low road, while still trying to point out inconsistencies in Taylor’s narrative.
We reached out to both campaigns to schedule an interview with the candidates while the state legislature was on its two-week Easter break.
Taylor agreed to meet with us, shoehorning us in before a trip to Cincinnati one rainy morning this week.
DeWine was, unfortunately, unable to accommodate our request due to scheduling conflicts, but provided us with his pick of Lt. Governor Jon Husted to speak on his behalf.
We accepted the Husted substitution, knowing he may not be able to answer some specific stance questions we wanted to question DeWine about or how to be able to address those issues with the gubernatorial candidate at a later time.
Guns and Gun Control
The candidates took to the usual talking points about guns and gun control one would expect from Republicans candidates, reminding us of the Second Amendment and that people are going to have guns.
From there, their stances did differ slightly. Husted says DeWine has a plan and is focused on keeping schools safe. Taylor is looking to “harden the targets,” such as gun-free zones.
Both campaigns stress mental health assessment is critical. Taylor wants current laws enforced and Husted says DeWine is looking at mental health counseling for students.
Husted lays out DeWine’s plan in greater detail here.
The Opiate Epidemic
If there is one issue that is closest to Taylor’s heart at this time, it is the opiate epidemic the state is going through. The struggles her son has had with addiction are no secret.
Perhaps that is why her approach to dealing with the problem is so different from DeWine’s plans.
The Medicaid expansion program is a hot topic right now and Taylor has made her stance crystal clear. DeWine, on the other hand, has not been as clear about where he stands with it. This was one of the questions we had hoped to ask him about but were unable to.
Instead, we questioned his running mate about a controversial abortion bill recently introduced in the legislature that would ban all abortions in Ohio and carries no exceptions for rape, incest or medical emergencies for the mother.
Taylor’s gloves are off.
As we mentioned above, Taylor has been aggressively pushing her narrative out to voters, calling DeWine and Husted establishment candidates.
The level of vitriol has not reached the unsavory level other campaigns have seen in the past, but the attacks are pointed and meant to draw political blood.
How both sides feel about the other is quite interesting. Taylor is unabashedly frank about DeWine and how she feels about the prospect of his governorship. Husted was more measured in his responses, but still took aim at Taylor in areas that he claims pinpoint her inequities.
They also discussed the prospect of the gubernatorial candidates debating for primary voters before next month’s election.
Early voting in the primary is just weeks away and in about a month, whoever walks away from this battle will begin to wage a whole new war against a Democratic challenger.