“Betty Montgomery and Matt Dolan are establishment RINOs that are more concerned with political power and influence than putting Ohio or America first,” said Samantha Cotten, spokeswoman for Gibbons. “They are has-beens of a bygone era that haven’t represented the Republican Party in over a decade.”
RINO is an acronym for Republican In Name Only.
Scott Guthrie, a campaign manager for Mandel, declined comment.
The people at the roundtable spoke about the need for the U.S. to stop drugs from coming in over the southern border, the difficulties they are having finding police recruits, and the need for funding to address mental health issues of people who are incarcerated and those in crisis whom police are called to assist.
Dolan said he wants those in law enforcement to “know unequivocally I back them.”
“Which means in my time in the state senate, I’ve provided the necessary funds so they have the right equipment, they have the right training and they have the ability to hire more,” Dolan said. “It’s also the ability to recognize, ‘Do our laws work or do they not work?’ We certainly want criminals off the street. We have to deal with people who suffer from mental illness who are in our jails. Is there something we can do better?”
Dolan said he hopes a Cuyahoga County crisis stabilization program can be piloted across the state to help mentally ill people, and he wants federal law to allow Medicaid coverage for prisoners.
Dolan said as a state lawmaker he’s also worked to get more funding for community needs, and he’s hoping the state will use American Rescue Plan Act funding approved by Congress last March to pay for things like water and sewer improvements. He said he is the only Republican candidate who supports the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was co-written by retiring U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and signed by President Joe Biden last year.
“It didn’t raise the deficit, and it didn’t raise your taxes,” and it will bring needed repairs to critical infrastructure, Dolan said.
Dolan said he is afraid some Republican voters are listening to the loudest voices and not supporting the kind of compromises that enable legislation like that bill to be approved.
No Congressional Republicans supported the nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, the COVID-19 relief funding that provided cities and states with money that some Republican lawmakers in Congress are demanding be clawed back.
“Matt Dolan is such a weak RINO that he is campaigning on one of Joe Biden and Democrats’ signature accomplishments,” said Michael Beyer, spokesman for the Ohio Democratic Party. “Instead of owning his opposition to more funding for police and support for Ohioans to get back to work, Matt Dolan has decided he’d rather be a shameless hypocrite and tout funding he would have voted against.”
Dolan also addressed immigration on Friday, saying the porousness of the country’s borders need to be addressed, particularly because of drugs. He also called for using the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement to improve the economic climate in countries south of the border so people do not want to leave.
“Most people are coming seeking a better life. What’s happening is evil-doers” take advantage and smuggle drugs, Dolan said.
“Overall my campaign has been about security. I want to make sure we have border security, I want to make sure we have financial security, I want to make sure we have international security,” Dolan said in comments before the roundtable. “To do that we have to be laser-focused on making sure that America is strong: strong economically, American jobs, create an environment for innovation and investment to be here in America. Make sure we have fair trade agreements around the world. Make sure our allies know that we have their backs. Make sure our enemies know that America is going to stand up to you. And we are going to protect America’s interests.”
The other Republican primary candidates are: businessman Neil Patel of Westerville, businessman Mark Pukita of Dublin, former Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken of Canton, and author and businessman J.D. Vance of Cincinnati.
The Democratic primary candidates are: attorney Morgan Harper of Columbus, businesswoman Traci Johnson of Hilliard and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland Twp.
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