by George Rasley
In a year with many important offices on the ballot – including control of the United States Senate and House of Representatives – there is one very important office that is on the ballot that is getting almost no attention: Secretary of State for the State of Ohio.
No Republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio, and our old friend conservative Ohio state Senator Frank LaRose is the Republican candidate for this important office, which oversees business registrations, voter registration and election integrity for the Buckeye State.
LaRose is a principled conservative, not a hidebound partisan; he has a 100 percent Pro-Life voting record and has always fought to protect the life of the unborn, but he drew heat from the Republican establishment, including then-Speaker of the House John Boehner, for supporting anti-gerrymandering legislation and joining with a bipartisan group of 30-something legislators to form the “Ohio Future Caucus.”
At 39, LaRose has an impressive record of public service. An Eagle Scout, he was inspired, he told the Columbus Dispatch, by his childhood Boy Scout leader, a World War II veteran, to enlist in the U.S. Army straight out of Copley High School. He served around the world with the 101st Airborne Division and as a Green Beret in the U.S. Special Forces.
After 10 years of military service, he earned a business degree at Ohio State University in 2007. Following three years in the private sector, he ran for an open seat in the senate, winning his first term in 2010.
From the start, noted the Columbus Dispatch, Frank LaRose has been Republicans’ go-to lawmaker for bills aimed at improving voting and elections. Early on, because LaRose was at the time the only military veteran in the senate, Jon Husted — then newly elected secretary of state — turned to him to carry a bill making it easier for overseas service members to vote.
Since then, he has sponsored or co-sponsored most of the election-related bills in his chamber.
Ohio was the site of several voter fraud prosecutions during the Obama years and election integrity and ballot access in the state have been the subject of several notable federal court cases.
The US Supreme Court in June issued an important ruling upholding Ohio’s six-year voter roll maintenance process – by which voters are removed if they don’t vote after two years, and for the next four years don’t vote and don’t respond to the board of elections mailings.
The Democratic Party’s candidate for Ohio Secretary of State, state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, was outspoken against the process, which she and other critics call voter purging. Clyde notes the court’s decision left voter roll upkeep to the states, and she says if she wins, on day one she would change what she calls the strictest removal process in the country.
“One way we could do this is move Ohio towards automatic voter registration,” said Clyde. Clyde’s automatic voter registration system would sign up everyone unless they opt out – a system like the one used in California that officials admit added many ineligible voters to the rolls.
Whoever wins the Ohio Secretary of State election will have to manage the state’s next big voter project – replacing thousands of voting machines that are a dozen or more years old.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, the state has set aside more than $114 million to get new machines in place by the 2020 presidential election but didn’t specify what machines counties must buy.
LaRose says that’s appropriate – the bipartisan local boards of elections should make those choices.
“At a time when it feels like Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on what day of the week it is – every county in Ohio has a bipartisan success story. It is your county board of elections where every morning by design Republicans and Democrats arrive at work and work together to run elections. Those are the people that should make the decisions about what kind of voting machines they want to buy, not us sitting in Columbus and dictating it to them,” LaRose told the Dispatch.
We first met Frank LaRose in 2006 and found him to be one of the most impressive men of his generation in Republican politics. Fair-minded, clear-eyed and patriotic, LaRose is exactly the kind of man you want in the foxhole beside you, or in charge of your state’s elections.
In addition to the endorsement of the influential Columbus Dispatch newspaper, Frank LaRose has accumulated an impressive list of endorsements from labor unions, business groups and other conservatives, including Ohio Right to Life.
The Left understands the importance of Ohio in 2020, which is why Hollywood PAC money has been pouring in to support his liberal opponent. We urge you to support and vote for Frank LaRose for Ohio Secretary of State.