A candidate in the Ohio GOP primary race for the governorship is conjuring up a phrase used by President Trump to assail Hillary Clinton in the presidential election as their statewide race heats up.
Here’s what happened
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine claimed the actions of his opponent, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, were criminal and should be investigated in a tweet he posted Wednesday on an account supporting his election campaign.
“Hey [Mary Taylor]!” the account tweeted. “When you abuse your power and fly around on a state plane for personal use, it’s not conservative – it’s criminal.”
The link in the tweet detailed accusations that Taylor might have acted improperly in the use of a state plane. She has reimbursed Ohio $1,039 for the flights in 2011, but a lawmaker called for audit of her actions.
The Twitter account added the hashtag “lock her up,” which hearkened back to the presidential campaign when Trump would make his supporters chant the phrase at his rallies in reference to Clinton. Another hashtag called her a “RINO” which is a common Republican epithet meaning, “Republican In Name Only.”
Hey @MaryTaylorOH! When you abuse your power and fly around on a state plane for personal use, it’s not conservative – it’s criminal. https://t.co/IVJzUozTqi #MaryUnfitUnqualified #OHGov #LockHerUp #RINO
— Mary Taylor | Unfit, Unqualified (@MaryDoesntWork) March 21, 2018
DeWine campaign spokesman Ryan Stubenrauch added some context for the accusations in the tweet.
“It was well documented by Ohio newspapers that Mary Taylor used the state plane for personal reasons,” he said, “some trips even being described as ‘errands,’ which Ohioans would probably unanimously see as unethical and illegal.”
“Clearly Mary Taylor herself was worried,” he added, “since she started giving back-payment for the trips. These are the things that simply make her unfit and unqualified for leadership.”
Lieutenant Governor Taylor responds
Taylor responded in her own tweet, saying, “I find it insulting that Mike DeWine is comfortable calling me names while hiding behind an ad agency but refuses to say them to my face in a debate.”
I find it insulting that Mike DeWine is comfortable calling me names while hiding behind an ad agency but refuses to say them to my face in a debate. He lacks the courage to stand across from me under the lights and answer for his record. Ohio deserves better.
— Mary Taylor (@MaryTaylorOH) March 21, 2018
“He lacks the courage to stand across from me under the lights and answer for his record,” she added. “Ohio deserves better.”
DeWine has so far declined to debate Taylor, but has left the possibility open.
“I guess Mike DeWine isn’t looking or talking past Mary Taylor anymore,” added Taylor’s campaign spokesman Michael Duchesne. “The fact is, our campaign has been reminding Ohioans of DeWine’s liberal record on defending the Second Amendment and illegal immigration, and apparently that’s hitting close to home. All DeWine has in response is to call Ohio’s highest ranking female elected official a ‘slacker.’ I hope [his wife] Fran sits him down tonight and explains what a bad look that is.”
The Republican primary election will be held May 8.