COLUMBUS — The Ohio Democratic Party hosted a press conference Friday afternoon blasting Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose on his redistricting-related voting pattern, opening a debate path for the candidate they hope will replace him, Chelsea Clark.
Cameron Kier, Ohio Democratic Party press secretary, described the situation for Ohioans as they approach the next primary election on May 3, 2022, as “chaos” with the clock ticking down.
“Frank LaRose has failed in his elected position and is now doing little more than aiding in the Republican gerrymandering of our state, by passing illegal, gerrymandered maps and releasing directives that do nothing but shore up his own political support. He is responsible for a process that will likely end up costing Ohioans tens of millions of dollars,” Kier said.
Elizabeth Walters, Ohio Democratic Party chair, cited how in the past LaRose publicly disclosed the tactics and the technologies used to carry out the gerrymandered re-drawing of district lines: “modern GIS mapping software” and “pinpoint-accurate polling data.”
“Right now, Ohio finds itself in the middle of an election crisis, and Ohio’s top election official, Frank LaRose, is responsible,” said Walters. “Every Republican who sits on the redistricting commission has broken the law. They’ve rubber-stamped gerrymandered maps and ignored the will of the voters, and they all share blame.”
Walters then laid bare the underlying motive for LaRose’s actions, stating that LaRose’s intention to run for the Ohio Senate in 2024 is “the worst kept secret in Ohio politics,” and that “the only interests he seems to be serving are his own … abdicating his duty to Ohio and leaving Ohioans to pay the price.”
With that, she introduced her endorsed candidate, Chelsea Clark, for the next Ohio Secretary of State.
Clark, an African-American woman who describes herself as a “a small business owner, sixth-generation farmer, council woman, and mother,” championed herself as a politician for the people and not someone who is just out to serve her own political interests.
“From day one of this redistricting process, Frank LaRose has betrayed Ohioans and put his own party above his responsibilities to the Constitution, to the law, and to the voters of our state,” said Clark. “LaRose voted for four unconstitutional maps, two of which have already been struck down by the Ohio Supreme Court.”
What’s worse, Clark said, was that Ohioans are paying the bill, as LaRose continues to “issue directives that will likely cost Ohioans tens of millions of dollars” should the result be what the Democrats fear: two primary elections.
The process toward this costly, taxpayer-dollar-wasteful behavior began last Saturday.
That is when “Secretary LaRose threw the 2022 primary elections into chaos by ordering all 88 county boards of elections to start the process of placing General Assembly candidates on the ballot without final maps in place,” said Clark. “Then on Wednesday night, he issued the same directive for Congressional candidates.”
Clark explained that an additional consequence of this change includes putting the votes of Ohio’s men and women in uniform at risk by shortening the voting window for the military overseas and their families, which Clark personally identified with as a former military spouse.
“As Ohio’s next Secretary of State, I’ll do things differently,” Clark pledged, such as pursuing bipartisan efforts to draw fair and legal maps that would not lead, like it did in LaRose’s case, to “a Constitutional crisis.”