Voters Guide: Crossman vs. Yost in race for Ohio Attorney General

All candidates for local and state office were sent the same series of questions by the Dayton Daily News. Our goal was to help voters make informed choices in the Nov. 8 election (early voting for which begins Oct. 12).

The race for Ohio Attorney General is between Republican incumbent Dave Yost and Democratic challenger Jeff Crossman. The candidates’ answers are below, in their own words. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Jeff Crossman

Residence: Parma

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions: Board Member for the Hunger Network of Cleveland; Ohio State Bar Association Member; former Parma Board of Zoning Appeals member

Education: BA - Mount Union College; MA - University of Akron; JD - Cleveland-Marshall College of Law

Current employment: State Representative for Ohio House District 15

Why are you seeking elected office: We need an Attorney General that will fight for the people of Ohio rather than the super wealthy, the connected, and the big business interests of the state. As a City Councilman in Parma for five years and a State Representative for two terms, I’ve seen the damage our state government is doing to our communities under Ohio’s one party rule. I’ve seen how the extremist Republicans continue to propose and pass legislation that’s completely out of step with Ohio’s values and I’ve seen how this one party rule is damaging Ohio by costing us jobs. The corruption, gerrymandering, lack of respect for the rule of law is setting a dangerous precedent, holding back our state’s economic prospects, and making it more costly for ordinary Ohioans to live, work and retire. We need someone that is willing to stand up for ordinary Ohioans because the current AG has failed to do so.

Why should voters elect you: Ohioans deserve someone like them, working and fighting for them. I understand the challenges most Ohioans face every day – I’ve experienced many of them myself. I grew up in a working class neighborhood, raised by a single mom raising three children on a tight budget. We knew that if we worked hard and got an education, we should be able to earn a middle class life. However, in my adult life, I’ve seen too many Ohioans struggling to reach the middle class or stay there. I’ve seen how the well-connected and big businesses rig the government to work for them and against ordinary Ohioans. We need someone willing to fight for all Ohioans. As a State Representative, I fought against corruption. I led the charge to expel the disgraced former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder from the Ohio House even after everyone told me it was impossible and that I should “let it go.” This is the same tenacity I intend to demonstrate as Ohio’s Attorney General–fighting for all Ohioans.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities?

(1) Supporting reproductive freedom, bodily autonomy, and the right to abortion care from the largest government overreach in history - the Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade.

(2) Fighting corruption in State Government which holds back our state and increases the cost of living for Ohioans

(3) Protecting Ohio’s workers and families.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities?

(1) I have already rolled out a detailed plan to support reproductive freedom which includes supporting the effort to put the issue on the ballot for voters, providing clear information on where and when care can be obtained in or out of Ohio among other plans.

(2) Fighting state corruption requires the formalization of a public corruption section in the AG’s office. There is no such unit and the current AG has demonstrated no willingness to fight for Ohioans when it comes to cleaning up the repeated scandals in Ohio.

(3) Supporting local law enforcement, delivering a plan to finally address the opioid crisis which has increased dramatically in the past four years, and supporting workers’ rights.

Anything else you would like voters to know? Ohioans deserve an Attorney General who tells the truth, gets the law right, and, when they make a mistake, apologizes. Our current Attorney General Dave Yost, went on national tv over the summer to try and discredit the existence of a ten year old rape victim forced to flee the state to secure medical care. He also got the law wrong. When it became clear he was wrong, he refused to apologize. Our current Attorney General has continually failed Ohio–it’s women on the issue of rape, it’s LGBTQ community on the issue of civil rights, and Ohio workers by being opposed to their right to bargain collectively for better working conditions. In contrast, I am supported by a broad range of advocacy groups for each of these constituencies because I support issues important to them. I understand what it’s like to have to work hard to get ahead in life and I believe that everyone should be afforded the same opportunity.


Dave Yost

Residence: Columbus

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions:

• Ohio Attorney General, 2019 – present

• Ohio Auditor of State, 2011 – 2019

• Delaware County Prosecutor, 2003 – 2011

• Delaware County Auditor, 1999 – 2003

• Delaware City Council, 1995 – 1996

• Law partner at Burkham, Yost & Fuller in Delaware, Ohio

• Press secretary for Columbus City Mayor Dana G. “Buck” Rinehart

• Journalist for the Columbus Citizen-Journal

Education: Capital University, JD; The Ohio State University, BA

Current Employment: Ohio Attorney General

Why are you seeking elected office: I have spent my life fighting to find the truth and do justice. When I became Ohio Attorney General nearly four years ago, I vowed to continue that fight – and I believe I have kept that promise. Fighting for justice and the rule of law – the same rules for everybody – is what I am all about.

As Ohio’s Auditor of State, I was proud to bring accountability and transparency to Ohio’s schools, cracking down on bad charter schools failing our kids. I exposed flaws in Ohio’s food stamp (SNAP) program and went after officials that betrayed the public’s trust, helping to secure convictions against more than 170 corrupt public officials, and identifying more than $260 million in efficiency savings.

I brought that same fight to the Attorney General’s office, leading the largest human trafficking sting in Ohio history, winning an $88.3 million settlement from a company that bilked the state, and holding those that abused their power – and Ohioans’ trust – to peddle opioids in our communities accountable. We are also creating a fair and stable environment for businesses to thrive, and fighting – and winning – against federal overreach. The work of our office is endless, and I look forward to continuing it for another four years.

Why should voters elect you: The Attorney General is elected to represent the people of the state of Ohio as their chief law officer. The Attorney General’s job is to keep the political system within its constitutional limits, to protect the rights of individuals against the oppression of the majority, and to ensure that justice and the rule of law set the boundaries of our society.

My record is the evidence of my promise – as a prosecuting attorney, fighting for the rights of victims; as the Auditor of State, fighting public corruption and waste of public money; as the Attorney General of Ohio, our motto is “Protect the Unprotected,” and our slogan is, “We Fight Giants.” I pledge to continue to do both in a second term as Ohio Attorney General.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? The word limit will not allow me to describe all my goals for a second term in office, so I will share my top four priorities:

  • Police Training: We need to have annual, funded, mandatory training for all Ohio peace officers. Training has always been sporadic in Ohio. We would never expect a basketball team that only trains and receives coaching every third or fourth year to win a championship. The same applies to police training. These officers deserve better, and I will continue to work with the General Assembly to achieve this goal. We had a great first step in 2022 with funded training for all.
  • PBMs: I want to continue our fight to bring accountability and reform to the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) space. We have recovered nearly $100 million from PBMs already, but there is more work to be done to be certain that Ohioans get the value they pay for.
  • Human Trafficking: Ohio is a national pioneer in demand reduction for human trafficking. If we can remove demand and the money that funds trafficking, we will eliminate the market and the crime. I want to finish what we started, and I am excited for a day when no human being is bought or sold in this state.
  • Protecting the Rule of Law: The use of executive fiat in place of legislation is threatening our system of representative government. The Attorney General can, and should, play a role in bringing accountability to government. Our Constitution is a blueprint – and a limitation – on the actions of government.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? Please see above.

Anything else you would like voters to know? As Ohio Attorney General, my client is the people of Ohio. Not a political party, and certainly not an individual politician – though my client elects officers to carry out their business, and those officers are due deference. My personal views and opinions cannot override the office’s duty to the law.

Our goal is compliance over enforcement; we use enforcement to achieve compliance. No one should ever be surprised when they are named as a defendant in an action.

The individuals who work here are the most dedicated public servants I have had the pleasure of working with. Virtually every attorney on our team could make more money in the private sector. But they choose to stay here because they see the ability to do public good.

Government is the control over the abuse of power – the power of violence, the power of deception in the marketplace, the power of scale or access to capital, and the power to control information.

The Attorney General’s Office is a primary instrument to control the abuse of power, though certainly not the sole instrument. When power is properly restrained from abuse, individual freedom flourishes – along with our families, our economy and our civilization.