Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Ohio’s Trump-backed election chief defeats conservative foe in GOP primary

COLUMBUS, Ohio ( Associated Press) — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose won the Republican nomination for his second term on Tuesday, defeating conservative challenger John Adams, who questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 presidential election.

In November’s general election, LaRose will face Democrat Chelsea Clark, a member of the suburban Cincinnati City Council and businesswoman. Clarke ran unopposed in the primary.

Read more: Ohio 2022 primary election results

Former President Donald Trump backed Lauros in the race, despite Adams openly questioning the 2020 results. LaRose echoed some of Trump’s talking points on voter fraud before winning Trump’s support, even though he had previously defended the legitimacy of the 2020 election.

The Ohio election was the first of several closely watched races for secretaries of state in the midterm elections. The position grew in importance on the national political scene as Trump backed candidates who supported his lie that widespread voter fraud had re-elected him.

The primaries for top election offices will run on the presidential battlefields of Nebraska, Idaho, Alabama and Georgia over the next few weeks. While there is also a primary Tuesday in Indiana, candidates for secretary of state and some other offices will not be decided until party conventions in June.

Voters in about two dozen states will decide who will be the next chief election officer of their state this year. In three politically important states – Florida, Pennsylvania and Texas – whoever wins the gubernatorial race will fill the position. In New Hampshire, the decision will be made by the state legislature – currently controlled by Republicans.

Larose, a Green Beret and ex-state senator, supported Trump in his inaugural campaign for president and was part of the team handling logistics for Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

Adams, an Army and Navy veteran and former state legislator, had criticized Larose for his role in postponing the March 2020 primary during the coronavirus pandemic.

That month, as concerns about COVID-19 intensified, LaRose directed all 88 Ohio county board elections to close voting the night before the March 17 primary to comply with an order from the state health director in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He rescheduled the vote in person for June 2.

That timeline was later challenged in court by the Ohio Democratic Party, which advocated casting all remaining votes by mail.

Lawmakers eventually set a new, almost exclusively mail-in primary election for April 28, 2020, at Larose’s wish.

This year, LaRose found herself in the primary spotlight again because of her dual roles as the state’s election chief and as a GOP representative on the seven-member Ohio Redistribution Commission, which was charged with creating the new legislative map. Since the Ohio Supreme Court repeatedly shot down the proposed redistribution maps as unconstitutional gerrymandering, a partial primary in the state is being held Tuesday, with the state legislative race being decided later.

In the weeks following the 2020 presidential election, LaRose said, “Elections are run better and more honest than I really think they have ever been.” Months later, he said in an interview what proved to be true state by state – that voter fraud is rare.

This February, LaRose shifted her tone to Twitter, saying that “mainstream media is trying to downplay voter fraud in line with their narrative” and

“President Donald Trump is right to say that voter fraud is a serious problem.” Trump supported LaRose in April.

Adams said he ran for state election because he did not believe Trump lost the 2020 election.

“Why am I running for Secretary of State?” Adams said at a campaign event last month. “Well, we had an election two years ago, and I woke up the next morning and I said, ‘You’re kidding me. There’s no way Trump lost. Absolutely not.'”

Associated Press writer Julie Carr Smith contributed to this report.

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