OHIO | OH-gov

O’Neill Expects to Exit Race This Week Following Viral Facebook Post on Sexual Exploits

Mike DeWine and Nan Whaley collected endorsements.

Zach C. Cohen
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Zach C. Cohen
Nov. 20, 2017, 11:02 a.m.

“Hours after detailing his sexual history on Facebook,” state Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill (D) said “he’ll likely drop out of the … race” by “this time next Friday” to make room for CFPB Director Richard Cordray’s (D) possible run, saying the two have recently spoken.

“O’Neill … made headlines on Friday when he issued a Facebook post intending to defend” Sen. Al Franken (D). “In the process, O’Neill described his own sexual history, which he proclaimed included sex with ‘approximately’ 50 partners.” (WKYC)

“O’Neill … apologized a second time on Sunday … saying he harmed the national debate on sexual harassment, assault and rape. … He originally told everyone who was offended to ‘lighten up.’”

O’Neill “said he was standing by his defense of Franken. … He added that those wanting to return his donations should do so to him instead of charity and recommended women who are the target of unwelcome overtures by men should should poke them in the eye.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

Former state Rep. Connie Pillich (D) said she will donate O’Neill’s contributions to her campaign “to organizations helping women.” (release)

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor (R) “called the post ‘ill-timed and dismissive at best.’”

Former Rep. Betty Sutton (D), Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley (D), and Pillich “said O’Neill should step down from the bench.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer) State Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D) called it “a ridiculous comment by someone who is supposed to be a professional representing Ohioans on our highest court.” (Twitter)

O’Neill’s campaign manager, Chris Clevenger, resigned Friday, saying he had “no prior knowledge of his statement.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board called the post “appallingly crude and tone-deaf” and said he “ought to step down from the bench and withdraw from the race for governor.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

ENDORSEMENTS. The Summit County Republican Party endorsed state Attorney General Mike DeWine (R) on Saturday, citing “DeWine’s name recognition, performance as Ohio Attorney General, including his fight to end the drug epidemic, along with his conservative governing philosophy.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

The Morgan County Republican Party also endorsed DeWine on Monday. (release)

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D), who ran for DNC chair this year, endorsed Whaley on Friday, saying she has “relentlessly focused on getting stuff done for her community,” including on the opioid crisis. Both are members of a group of moderate Democrats called The NewDEAL. Buttigieg: “She’s terrific. I’ve been helping her. I haven’t officially endorsed her, but I will, so might as well say it: I’ve got her back.” (Hotline reporting)

EACH IN HIS OWN RIGHT. “The secretary of state’s office produces slick videos at public expense promoting Jon Husted in his capacity as an elected officeholder. But some of the videos seemingly have little to do with the work of the state’s chief elections officer. … And, after the videos are stitched together on state time with state money, Husted personally uses the tweets to promote himself politically as he campaigns for the Republican nomination for governor. The videos, as well as photos, are generated by the secretary of state’s office and shared on its @OhioSOSHusted account on Twitter and retweeted by Husted himself on his @JonHusted account.” (Columbus Dispatch)

Rep. Jim Renacci (R) “said that if he can’t raise the millions of dollars necessary for an extensive TV ad campaign to get his message to Republican voters, he will self-finance.” (Columbus Dispatch)

DeWine, Husted, Renacci, and Taylor largely agreed in a candidate forum on supporting President Trump as well as opposing sanctuary cities and Medicaid expansion.

Renacci at the forum said a “motorcycle crash at 18 also taught him how to deal with pain management and the opioid crisis.” Renacci: “I hit a car on a motorcycle at 60 miles an hour, put the bike under the car, went up over the car, went through the windows, ended up 100 yards down the road. … I went to school the next day with aspirin, not opioids.” (Cincinnati Enquirer)

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