Battle over Ohio House Republicans' campaign account appears to be settled
Lawmakers are on spring break, but they were apparently working. The war over who will control the Ohio House Republicans’ campaign arm is apparently over, with the announcement of two co-chairs who will control that account.
Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) announced that Reps. Phil Plummer (R-Dayton) and Jeff LaRe (R-Pickerington) will co-chair the Ohio House Republican Alliance. The group hired a chief political director who’s a veteran of the campaigns of former President Trump, newly elected Congressman Max Miller and former Treasurer Josh Mandel, who’s lost both of his runs for U.S. Senate.
Stephens disputed Plummer's claim that he controlled the campaign account because he was among the majority of House Republicans in supporting Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Township) for speaker, and the 22 Republicans who voted for Stephens, including LaRe, were censured by the state party.
This deal seems to settle whether Merrin supporters would sue over the account and potentially launch primary challenges against those who voted for Stephens.
And it comes as lawmakers prepare to return to the Statehouse facing some big pieces of legislation, including the two-year state budget. They'll also be holding a hearing on the proposal to require 60% voter approval to amend Ohio's constitution. Plummer was appointed chair of the committee hearing that resolution, after Stephens removed Rep. Scott Wiggam (R-Wooster) as chair.
Merrin has said the 60% voter approval resolution is his top priority, and Republicans who support it are pushing for a vote on it before an amendment on reproductive rights is likely before voters this fall. Last month Stephens had said he didn't want to reinstitute an August special election to vote on it, since a law to eliminate August special elections had just passed in December. But a week later Stephens said that was "always a possibility."
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