COLUMBUS (WKBN) – The political landscape of Ohio’s GOP gubernatorial primary race has shifted mightily in the last 24 hours.
The two candidates who have raised the most money so far have decided it would be better to work together than against each other.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted were poised to wage a brutal war to win the primary.
It would have cost the pair millions of dollars — money they will now put to use in their attempt to defeat their primary opponents Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and Congressman Jim Renacci.
Neither Taylor nor Renacci have announced their running mates.
The combined name recognition of DeWine and Husted is going to be a powerful tool, according to some Republicans present at the announcement Thursday.
It could even end up saving them a large chunk of that money to use against whoever wins the Democratic Party’s primary race.
Both Husted and DeWine agree that the ultimate goal is to win the governorship and Husted said the best way to accomplish that is to work together. That’s why he said he is stepping back and letting DeWine take the reins.
Husted is in his 40s — a rising star in the GOP. DeWine is 70 and waiting four more years for a shot at being governor is not appealing nor ideal.
Husted said he makes decisions that help others out and is certainly helping DeWine on this one by giving him one less opponent and a significant financial advantage over those that remain.
When Husted was asked if this was done to earn a little good will with the party given the drastic age difference between the two and the urgency DeWine has with winning the position now, Husted said that wasn’t the case.
According to DeWine and Husted, this whole partnership grew out of a breakfast meeting the day before.
To hear the two men tell the tale, it started with a phone call from one to the other, where they and their wives agreed to meet for breakfast.
DeWine said there were bacon and muffins and somewhere along the way, they came to the determination over the delightful morning spread that they should team up.
DeWine did say he had been thinking about who his running mate should be for the past several months and that his team had worked on coming up with the right person.
He said that person is Husted and that the current Secretary of State will be given a significant amount of responsibility if the pair wins the race.
DeWine also said that he needs someone like Husted to give him advice on the tough issues when they come up.