Ohio’s GOP officeholders back Trump with faint enthusiasm

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Gov. John Kasich has drawn widespread attention for his refusal to endorse Republican nominee and former rival Donald Trump. His fellow statewide officeholders also aren’t expressing great enthusiasm for the New York billionaire’s candidacy.

Only one, Auditor Dave Yost, has said outright that he won’t vote for Trump — but a look at what the rest of Ohio’s all-Republican statewide lineup has said reveals lackluster reviews for the party’s presidential pick.


MARY TAYLOR, LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR: “I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton”

Taylor was a die-hard supporter of Kasich’s run for president and a Kasich delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. After he left the race, Taylor, a potential 2018 gubernatorial contender, had to regroup.

She said she left the convention supporting “the nominee,” though she didn’t mention Trump by name. She told Politico, “At the end of the day, our choices in November are Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, and I’m not voting for Hillary Clinton.”


MIKE DEWINE, ATTORNEY GENERAL: “He got the nomination”

DeWine also supported Kasich’s presidential bid but lined up with Trump on the premise that he was the party’s pick.

“I always said I would support the nominee of the party, and when the convention came, he got the nomination,” he said in an interview.

Trump’s Ohio events have tended to sprout up quickly and not to feature the typical state-level lineup on stage.

DeWine recalled being asked to appear, “but I was somewhere else.”


JON HUSTED, SECRETARY OF STATE: “The better of the bad options”

As Ohio’s elections chief, Husted is barred from formally endorsing a candidate for president. When he’s been asked, though, Husted says he plans to vote for Trump.

“Donald Trump is more likely to support a conservative for the Supreme Court, and on that basis alone I will vote for him,” Husted told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “I’m not high on either candidate. This is clearly a question we’re facing: who is the better of the bad options?”


DAVE YOST, AUDITOR: “I will break ranks with my party”

Yost has been the most publicly outspoken of Ohio’s officials, other than Kasich, on this year’s presidential happenings.

He leveled attacks at Trump while campaigning for Kasich’s presidency, wrote a series of newspaper columns from the convention and professed, “I will break ranks with my party.”

Yost has taken to Facebook to dissect his feelings about Trump, writing: “In his heart of hearts — when he’s not playing a role on TV — what does he believe in? Is there anything that is non-negotiable?”

He said he could prosecute, but not vote for, Hillary Clinton: “Like most of America, I am shaking my head at our choices.”


JOSH MANDEL, TREASURER: “Supporting the Republican nominee for president”

Mandel broke with the rest of Ohio’s statewide officeholders and supported Florida Sen. Marco Rubio over Kasich for president. He’s now on board with Trump, saying it sticks with his pledge to support the nominee.

After the convention, he delivered his message through a spokesman: “Treasurer Mandel has consistently said he will support the Republican nominee for president, so he will be supporting Donald Trump.”

That spokesman, Seth Unger, is now among Mandel operatives who are working for Trump’s Ohio campaign. Another is John Roscoe, director of coordinated campaigns for the state party and Trump campaigns. He managed Mandel’s successful re-election campaign in 2014.