COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose launched his reelection bid on Monday, touting the state’s smooth 2020 election even as many fellow Republicans expressed unfounded doubts in the presidential result and GOP lawmakers are backing a major rewrite to state voting laws.
LaRose, 42, released a one-minute video along with his announcement that emphasizes his physical fitness, military background, political experience and young family.
“Every legal ballot was counted — a record-shattering 6 million — and the people of Ohio made their voice heard,” he says to the camera. “While other states struggled, Ohio got it right. Because there’s nothing more important than protecting your vote.”
His phrasing appears aimed at not alienating skeptics who have adopted former President Donald Trump’s assertion without proof that the 2020 election was stolen, while also reassuring those who fear his party’s election law rewrite will disenfranchise voters.
Democrats have blasted the proposed election law overhaul, which contains some LaRose priorities, as voter suppression. It includes, among other things, an extension of the one-dropbox-per-county limit imposed by LaRose in 2020 that Democrats characterize as “nonsensical.”
In a fundraising email to supporters, Ohio House Democratic Leader Emilia Sykes — a prospective challenger to LaRose — called the bill “so draconian that the Georgia law looks mild in comparison.”
LaRose’s launch marks the first of the 2022 cycle among Ohio incumbents. Gov. Mike DeWine, Attorney General Dave Yost, Auditor Keith Faber and Treasurer Robert Sprague, all Republicans, are all expected to run again.