This term likely DeWine’s last

Mike DeWine has spent most of his adult life in politics, but this four-year term as governor is likely his last.

Asked during a recent interview if 2022 was his final campaign, DeWine said: “You never want to say last, but I don’t have any plans to do anything as far as elected office after that. That’s four years away. You never say never, but I’m focused on what I’m doing.”

State term limits law prohibits DeWine from running in 2026 for governor. It’s not just that DeWine will be 80 years old when his term ends, but he’s run for almost every office imaginable.

DeWine, a Republican, first was elected in 1976 as Greene County prosecutor and then to the state Senate in 1980. Two years later, he won a U.S. House of Representatives seat and held it until being elected lieutenant governor in 1990.

DeWine had his sights set on higher office and unsuccessfully ran in 1992 for a U.S. Senate seat. He won a different U.S. Senate seat in 1994 and held it until losing in 2006 to Democrat Sherrod Brown.

At the time, it appeared it could be the end of DeWine’s then-30-year political career as he became a college professor and an attorney.

But DeWine chose in 2010 to run for attorney general, beating incumbent Democrat Richard Cordray by only 1.28 percent and holding the seat for two four-year terms.

DeWine ran for governor in 2018, beating Cordray again — this time by 3.71 percent.

DeWine’s re-election last year came much easier when he beat Democrat Nan Whaley by 25.03 percent.

When this gubernatorial term ends, DeWine will have 46 years of elected experience.

DeWine said he has been “asked by a few people” to run for president next year, “but that’s not something I see myself doing.”

Republican John Kasich, the previous Ohio governor, ran for president in 2016 and was trounced by Donald Trump. DeWine also wouldn’t say if he had a favorite candidate for president.

“No, I’m not going to go there yet,” he said. “This thing has to play out. We’re very early in the process. The presidential election is (less than) two years off and my term’s got a little less than four years to go, so I’m focused on that.”

DeWine added: “I’m focused on the next four years as governor. As I said on election night, I’m grateful to the people of Ohio for giving me four more years. We have a lot to do.”

DeWine’s top priority for the next few months is getting the Republican-controlled state Legislature to pass his biennial budget.

He estimated that about 96 to 97 percent of his priorities in the last two budgets he introduced were included in the General Assembly’s approved fiscal package.

“It’s a fiscally conservative responsible budget,” DeWine said of his new $203 billion spending plan. “We were careful with one-time money — federal dollars and surplus we’ve built up over the past few years and focus it on one-time expenses, one-time investments.”

Asked about the coalition in the state House between a minority of Republican members and the Democrats that led to Jason Stephens, R-Kitts Hill, being elected speaker despite most Republicans voting for state Rep. Derek Merrin, R-Monclova, DeWine said: “It’s not unprecedented. Larry Householder did that with a Democrat-Republican coalition. It’s not the first time.”

Of course, Householder is currently on trial in federal court on corruption charges accused of accepting bribes to become speaker in order to pass a $1.3 billion bailout of two nuclear plants.

DeWine also said the Democrat-Republican coalition is a relatively new phenomenon and would have never been permitted decades ago, particularly under Democrat Verne Riffe, who was speaker for 20 years.

DeWine said he maintains “an open door” to all legislators.

“The role of the governor is not to interfere or getting involved with how the Senate picks its president or how the House picks its speaker,” he said. “My job is to work with the people and try to get good results for the people of the state. So far, I’ve done that.”


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