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DeWine’s Dog Whistle Politics in Primary Will Turn Off Voters in a General Election

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Ohioans Are Looking for Problem-Solvers, Not a Race to the Bottom

Cleveland, OH — After landslide victories in the primaries, Mike DeWine and Richard Cordray are facing off in the governor’s race.

While Lt. Governor Mary Taylor was not able to ride to victory on being the most extreme of the two in the GOP primary, she did succeed in pulling DeWine to the hard right. When Taylor attacked DeWine as too liberal on immigration and other issues, the Attorney General hit back with an equally ugly, divisive campaign ad.

In addition to proudly supporting Trump’s Muslim ban and attacks on Obamacare and “illegal sanctuary cities,” DeWine bragged about destroying a ray of hope for Ohio children who have undocumented parents, by suing to block a program that would have allowed American citizens’ parents to apply for legal status along the same lines as the DACA policy. Thanks to DeWine’s lawsuit, moms and dads from all across Ohio have been deported, leaving their American children behind.

Lynn Tramonte, Director of America’s Voice Ohio, said:

“DeWine is now running in a general election, and will need support from voters who are offended by his attacks on immigrants and other working people. His avowed support for the Muslim ban is racist, and use of the so-called ‘sanctuary city’ wedge issue is just dog whistle politics at their worst. DeWine missed an opportunity during the primary to be the bigger person and demonstrate an ability to bring voters together.”

Despite an assumption that anti-immigrant politicking is smart strategy, real results from recent elections show the opposite to be true. Voters are tired of the constant fear-mongering on immigration from Trump and his imitators. As pollster Matt Barreto wrote in The New York Times about the 2017 Virginia gubernatorial race:

Before the vote in Virginia, pundits on both the right and left were speculating that [Republican gubernatorial candidate in Virginia] Gillespie’s anti-immigrant strategy was working. But in the end, election results and polling data in Virginia proved all that thinking was wrong. While each state has its own demographics and distinct politics, Virginia has voters who span demographic and economic spectrums. Majorities of voters of all races and ethnicities rejected anti-immigrant stereotypes as ugly and wrong.

“Unless DeWine has a magic eraser to address the past, he’s got a lot of explaining to do as he turns to a general election audience,” Tramonte concluded. “Ohioans are looking for problem-solvers willing to work across the aisle to get things done, not politicians who are willing to race to the bottom in search of votes.”