Ohio’s “Issue 1” ballot referendum has polarized Ohio’s political and law enforcement communities ahead of November’s midterm elections.
On the one side you have virtually every law enforcement group in the state, Republican candidates like Mike DeWine for governor and Jim Renacci for U.S. Senate, and dozens of judges and prosecutors who are sounding an alarm. They all implore Ohioans to vote “no” on Issue 1.
On the other side you have Richard Cordray, the Democratic Party and billionaire liberals like George Soros, Nicholas Pritzker and Mark Zuckerberg.
These billionaires have thrown more than $2 million behind Issue 1, paying for advertisements that critics say are deceptive.
If cooler heads prevail, the Issue 1 backers will be trounced on Nov. 6, writes RNC co-chair and native Ohioan Bob Paduchik in an op-ed Thursday at Townhall.com.
In the article, “Democrats Trolling for New Voters Among Convicted Drug Dealers,” Paduchik states:
Richard Cordray, the Democrat candidate for governor, has publicly endorsed Issue 1, but he gets squishy when it comes to explaining his position. Since the pro-Issue 1 campaign is bankrolled by the likes of George Soros and other left-wing special interests committed to electing Democrats, the real reason for Cordray’s support is no great mystery.
…Cordray and other Democrats support this ill-conceived drug dealer amnesty policy because they want more votes. That they would use a vulnerable population and play political games with our state’s constitution to earn them is no surprise, but must be stopped on November 6.”
Paduchik states in the article that he sincerely believes the Democrats’ support for Issue 1 is for cynical political purposes.
As the nation struggles to come to grips with the opioid crisis and all of the families impacted by this lethal threat, Democrats in Ohio are more concerned with wooing the support of the drug dealer lobby.”
Issue 1 calls for a statewide constitutional amendment titled the “Drug and Criminal Justice Policies Initiative.” Paduchik says it should’ve been called the “Drug Dealer Amnesty Act.”
Issue 1 is presented under the guise of prison reform to emphasize drug treatment over incarceration. But Issue 1 is really about increasing Democrat voter turnout — not fostering serious reform, writes Paduchik.
That’s why radical left-wing billionaires who don’t even live in Ohio, such as George Soros, have spent millions to get Issue 1 on the ballot and support its passage.
“There are many things wrong with Issue 1, but I am content to focus on what will happen with drug dealers.”
To make his point, Paduchik introduces readers to “fictional Joe.”
Joe is a convicted drug dealer who has served nine years of his 12-year prison sentence. His lawyer files for early release because under Issue 1, anyone not serving time for rape or murder is eligible for a 25 percent reduction in his sentence for participating in various rehabilitation programs.
“Since Joe participated in one of these programs while he was in prison, he qualifies for the reduced sentence — regardless of his criminal history. Joe gets out of prison early and, because Joe lacks any employable job skills, he goes back to doing what he does best: selling drugs.
“And why wouldn’t he? Issue 1 will reduce a felony conviction for narcotics possession to a misdemeanor charge. That means Joe would have to be caught in the actual act of making a drug sale to face charges for drug dealing. The organizations that represent the people we pay to catch drug dealers, the Fraternal Order of Police and the Buckeye Sheriffs Association, both oppose Issue 1 for this reason and several others.”
Issue 1 also allows dealers to face only misdemeanor charges for carrying obscene amounts of one of the deadliest drugs – fentanyl. An individual can hold 19 grams of fentanyl, enough to kill 10,000 people, and only be charged with a misdemeanor.
“It’s clear why Issue 1 can be characterized as the Drug Dealer Amnesty Act,” Paduchik writes. “What isn’t clear is why Richard Cordray and other Democrat candidates support Issue 1.”
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Anthony Accardi is a writer and reporter for The Ohio Star.