Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will run for governor in 2018, according to a conversation he had with a charter school executive in Dayton.
DeWine, 68, told a charter school executive about his hopes to become Ohio governor during a tour of north Dayton’s Summit Academy.
During the tour, a reporter for this news organization overheard the conversation between DeWine and Summit Academy CEO Barbara Danforth. She expressed challenges with state government and the need to work more closely with the Ohio Department of Education.
“I’d like your ideas,” DeWine said to Danforth. “There’s not much I can do about it now, but I’m going to run for governor in two years.”
Asked by this news organization to confirm what he told Danforth, DeWine said, “Well, I told her that confidentially. But, I did indeed. Yes, I did.”
DeWine gave Danforth his personal email, he said.
Democrats responded to DeWine’s comments with criticism, urging him to “drop the campaign talk” and “focus on the job Ohioans elected him to do.”
“Apparently Mike DeWine is spending his time running around the state, talking with charter school operators — who give big contributions to DeWine and the Ohio Republican Party — about his political ambitions for 2018,” said Ohio Democratic Party spokeswoman Kirstin Alvanitakis in a statement.
DeWine is one of several high-profile Ohioans speculated to run for governor in 2018. Other Republicans include Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Secretary of State Jon Husted, a University of Dayton graduate.
DeWine is from Cedarville and is a former Greene County prosecutor and Ohio lieutenant governor under then-Gov. George Voinovich. His life in politics includes terms in the Ohio Senate, U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Democrats said to be interested in running for governor in 2018 include Rich Cordray, Connie Pillich, Tim Ryan and Betty Sutton.
Also during his visit, DeWine said he is “ready to protect” schools if the White House attempts to enforce an “absurd” directive regarding transgender students and school bathroom use.