There’s no hard evidence to back it up, but sources believe Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, both Republicans, allegedly made a secret pact during the 2018 election season to assist one another’s political fortunes.
Initially, Husted ran for governor, but he later dropped out of that race to seek the lieutenant governor’s job, as DeWine’s running mate, sources told The Ohio Star.
Ohio voters elected DeWine governor in 2018.
“This stuff about a deal the two men made is not news,” said John McAvoy, a Tea Party official in northwest Ohio who said, at one time, he supported Husted.
“People around Ohio know this. It’s common knowledge here.”
This matters because some people in Ohio believe members of the state’s GOP leadership can and will exclude conservative candidates not among the state’s political elite.
McAvoy, however, said he could not prove his accusations.
In another part of Ohio, Ray Warrick, who chaired the Warren County Republican Party for two years, also said he and other conservatives throughout the state believe or speculate DeWine and Husted made a secret deal.
“These two men actually spent the first two months of the campaign beating each other up,” Warrick said.
“[DeWine and Husted] were worried about beating the Democrat, so they threw in together. They had a big pile of money. And I should also say that DeWine is up there in years.”
DeWine is in his early 70s.
Other people affiliated with various Ohio Tea Party or GOP groups, who did not want to speak on record, told us similar things.
DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney addressed these accusations in a phone call with us Thursday.
“It’s just rumor, innuendo, and scuttlebutt,” Tierney said.
The Star asked, however, if any of it is true.
“If it was, I wouldn’t have said it was rumor, innuendo, and scuttlebutt,” Tierney replied.
Husted spokeswoman Brooke Ebersole said in an emailed statement that “this claim has no merit.”
McAvoy, however, said he believes members of Ohio’s Republican Party convinced Husted to abandon his race for governor.
“[The GOP] probably cut Husted some deal on maybe a future governor’s run if he dropped out of the race and instead would run as DeWine’s lieutenant governor,” McAvoy said.
“DeWine was next in line. He was the party favorite. The party did whatever they had to do to clear the path for him.”
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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “Mike DeWine” by Mike DeWine. Background Photo “Ohio Statehouse” by Alexander Smith. CC BY-SA 3.0.