COLUMBUS, Ohio – On Monday Nan Whaley, Democratic Mayor of Dayton, announced that she will run to be the next Governor of Ohio.
I’m running for governor because I’m ready to do something. I’m ready to do something to take on gun violence. To fix a broken economy. To fight corruption and criminality in Columbus. To make Ohio a place we can all be proud of. https://t.co/wi2J05zddC
— Nan Whaley (@nanwhaley) April 19, 2021
The Ohio Star received tips over the weekend that Whaley had already begun calling donors last week to raise money for the contest.
Whaley was elected Mayor of Dayton in 2013 and re-elected in 2017 when she was uncontested.
Before taking the helm as the city’s top politician, Whaley worked two terms on the Dayton City Commission. She served on the Montgomery County Board of Elections and as a Deputy to Montgomery County Auditor Karl Keith.
Her mayoral tenure has been marked by efforts to battle drug use and change gun laws.
Whaley has been an aggressive proponent of gun-related law changes since stepping into the national spotlight following a tragic mass shooting in her city in 2019. However, at that time Whaley quoted false information on mass shootings, claiming that the event in Dayton was the 250 th mass shooting of the year.
Whaley and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther joined forces last year to file a lawsuit against the Ohio Attorney General’s office seeking a court order to force an update of Ohio’s background check system related to criminal convictions, arrest warrants and court filings citing mental illness – efforts the Mayors said would curb gun violence.
In a press conference regarding the lawsuit the Dayton Mayor said, “the records missing from our background check system create unacceptable risks to public safety. There are clear steps that officials can take to address these issues, and the public has waited too long already. It’s past time to fix these dangerous problems.”
Governor Mike DeWine has been a proponent of similar changes and spent ample time over the past year using his COVID press updates to lobby Ohioans and lawmakers to enact updated gun laws – often mentioning the 2019 Dayton shooting.
Whaley and DeWine also took the same side last July on the issue of mask orders.
Prior to the statewide mask mandate, Dayton required masks in public places. “I know that wearing a mask is uncomfortable. I know that, unfortunately, wearing a mask has become a political flash point. But I also know that masks save lives. Masks are incredibly effective in reducing the spread of this virus. Masks are a small sacrifice that we can all make to take care of one another and to keep our businesses open as we continue to weather this storm,” Whaley said.
Like Ohio, Whaley’s county – Montgomery – saw the biggest runup in cases, hospitalizations and deaths following the statewide mask mandate.
In 2018 Whaley considered a run for Congress before jumping into the gubernatorial race. She later dropped out of the race and backed Democrat Richard Cordray.
In 2017 Dayton sued pharmaceutical companies, opioid drug distributors and physicians Whaley said were responsible for the opioid epidemic.
Whaley is the first Democrat to declare candidacy for Governor.
Currently on the the Republican side, incumbent Mike DeWine said he will seek re-election, Canal Winchester rancher and Constitutional Republican Joe Blystone has declared and Adam Rogers – who was a write-in candidate in 2018 – is running. Libertarian Dominic Bricker is also vying for the governor’s chair.
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Jack Windsor is Statehouse Reporter at The Ohio Star. Windsor is also an independent investigative reporter. Follow Jack on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Nan Whaley” by Nan Whaley and “Columbus, Ohio” is by Another Believer.