Ohio will be well served with Cordray as governor

When a veteran office- holder is given the chance to redeem himself on a defining issue in his election campaign and fails to do so, there’s cause for concern.

It’s all the more troubling when the issue pertains to a couple of individuals with power, influence and wealth.

The officeholder in question is Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, the Republican nominee for governor in the Nov. 6 general election.

DeWine was asked Wednesday during his endorsement interview with The Vindicator Editorial Board if he were prepared to reverse his decision not to file criminal charges against prominent Mahoning Valley businessman Anthony M. Cafaro Sr.

He refused.

Prosecutors from DeWine’s office identified Cafaro as the mastermind of the highly publicized Oakhill Renaissance Place criminal conspiracy. Nonetheless, the attorney general refused to charge the retired president of the Cafaro Co., one of the country’s leading shopping-center developers.

DeWine repeated the explanation he first gave The Vindicator in April, namely, “if our prosecutors thought they could have brought a case [against Cafaro] successfully, they would have done so.”

We didn’t buy DeWine’s explanation then, and we don’t buy it now.

The Vindicator withheld its endorsement of the Republican Party insider in the May primary for governor, and we do so again.

The other individual who enjoys DeWine’s unwavering support is President Donald J. Trump. Rather than criticize Trump for being one of the most divisive, profane, partisan presidents in modern history, DeWine would only say he’s not going to defend everything the president says or tweets. He added, however, he would have a good relationship with Trump if he were elected governor.

While we again deny DeWine our endorsement, we’re not in the same bind in this election as we were in the primary when the other candidate for the GOP nomination, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, espoused positions on key issues that were too extreme for a state that is neither red nor blue.

In this general election there is a candidate who is articulate, thoughtful, an unabashed champion of Ohioans who have yet to share in the nation’s economic recovery and an unwavering supporter of the Affordable Care Act.

Democrat Richard Cordray, who served as the first director of the important Consumer Financial Protection Bureau under former President Barack Obama, also has the distinction in the governor’s race of unequivocally supporting Republican Gov. John R. Kasich’s expansion of the Medicaid program.

Heartfelt belief

That position more than any other speaks to Cordray’s heartfelt belief that Ohioans who are falling through the cracks must be given a helping hand.

Gov. Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid over the objection of the Republican majority in the General Assembly has been a rousing success. More than 700,000 Ohioans who did not have health insurance are now protected.

Cordray’s support of the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – meant that he supported Medicaid expansion because it is one of the provisions of the act.

By contrast, DeWine wasted little time after he was sworn in as attorney general in joining other attorneys general in filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ACA.

He called the law a “huge federal overreach.”

It was only after he started running for governor and realized health care was a major issue that he came out in favor of Medicaid expansion. Even then, he has said it is financially unsustainable and has pledged to reform the program. He hasn’t said how.

Had DeWine been successful in killing the Affordable Care Act, Americans with pre-existing conditions would have lost their health-insurance coverage.

DeWine insists that Congress would have acted to ensure a continuation of such coverage. The attorney general certainly has more faith in the Republican-controlled House and Senate to do the right thing than we do.

While we find Cordray’s candidacy compelling, we disagree with his support for state Issue 1, a constitutional amendment to change some of Ohio’s drug-sentencing laws. We urge Ohioans to vote “no.” Our editorial on Issue 1 was published Friday.

That said, The Vindicator endorses Cordray for governor in the belief that as a Democrat he will temper the extremist legislative tendencies of the Republican-controlled Ohio General Assembly.

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