Breaking News: No Primary Challenge for Governor Kasich

Earlier this week, news came out that Clermont County Tea Party leader Ted Stevenot was going to challenge incumbent John Kasich for the Republican nomination for governor.  Excerpt from the Media Trackers Ohio story:

“Former Ohio Liberty Coalition (OLC) President Ted Stevenot will challenge Governor John Kasich in Ohio’s May 6 primary election, a January 1 press release confirms.

“Stevenot and running mate Brenda Mack, former president of Ohio Black Republicans Association, are set to formally announce their candidacy on Tuesday, January 7.

. . .

“Last year Stevenot and OLC were at the forefront of the fight over the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, helping channel activists’ opposition into pressure on Republican legislators. Kasich’s Obamacare expansion was stopped in the Ohio General Assembly largely due to Stevenot’s leadership.”

(Media Trackers doesn’t mention that Kasich went on to get Medicaid Expansion anyway—despite the successful effort to oppose it in the legislature—through the less accountable Controlling Board.  Efforts to fight that in court ultimately failed.)

However, Stevenot announced yesterday that he will not run, which may or may not be related to reports that his running mate owed back taxes (not to be confused with Democratic running mate Eric Kearney, who did withdraw from the race over back taxes).  The Ohio Liberty Coalition reports on that here.  The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on it here.  Excerpt:

“‘Though my running mate Brenda Mack and I have received a tremendous outpouring of support and encouragement since that announcement, I have decided not to run for governor at this time,’ said Stevenot, a former president of the Ohio Liberty Coaliton.

“Stevenot, had he gone through with his plans and submitted enough valid signatures, would have been the first formal primary challenger to a sitting governor since 1978. Questions about his candidacy surfaced quickly, though, as a conservative blogger backing Kasich and other journalists unearthed financial problems in running mate Mack’s past.

. . .

“‘My decision was not based on any concerns about my running mate, Brenda Mack, for whom I have tremendous respect and admiration,’ Stevenot said. ‘She is a strong and courageous woman who is appropriately unapologetic for who she is. Brenda shared with me that in 1999, she fell ill and it took doctors years to diagnose what was causing the problem. During her illness, she understandably struggled to make ends meet and run her business. She ended up selling nearly everything she had just to survive.

“‘Eventually, doctors found out she had a rare form of cancer. Her battle with cancer ended in 2010 when, after her last chemotherapy treatment, and with many prayers from friends and family, she was thankfully diagnosed cancer-free. Brenda Mack is a fighter and I am honored that she considered running with me as lieutenant governor. This is my decision, not hers, and I understand that she is still interested in running for office in the future.'”

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