DELAWARE, Ohio — A confident Mike DeWine is offering words of conciliation amid his oft-bruising primary fight with Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor over who is the most conservative of the pair of Republican candidates for governor.
"Tuesday night is a transition, a little breather … What divides us as Republicans, as conservatives, is very small. Beginning tomorrow night, we will bring people together," DeWine told an audience of about 40 people at a get-out-vote event at Delaware County GOP headquarters Monday afternoon.
The second-term attorney general appears headed to a fall election contest with the Democratic nominee as voters cast primary ballots Tuesday following a campaign in which the hard-right and Donald Trump-embracing Taylor portrayed "D.C. DeWine" as a lie-spewing "liberal."
DeWine touted his anti-abortion rights record as a U.S. senator and his moves as attorney general to expand concealed-carry rights as evidence of his conservatism.
In an interview after he remarks, DeWine said, "All this talk in the campaign of who is the most conservative … We’ve done it. We’re the team with the record of doing something."
The party-endorsed DeWine was introduced by Ohio Republican Chairwoman Jane Timken, who proclaimed, "It’s going to be a great day tomorrow."
As part of his "Rock Solid Conservative Tour," DeWine campaigned earlier Monday in Strongsville and then headed for events in West Chester in Butler County and Young’s Dairy near Yellow Springs.
Taylor, meanwhile, was campaigning near her home territory in northeast Ohio ahead of Tuesday’s vote.
"We’re going to have a great turnout from Mary Taylor voters tomorrow," said campaign spokesman Michael Duchesne. "Voters who want to have their Second Amendment rights protected, sanctuary cities shut down and the Obamacare Medicaid expansion ended know that the only conservative in this race is Mary Taylor.
"We also know that Mike DeWine’s low energy, primitive campaign style isn’t exactly energizing Ohio GOP primary voters … We are confident in victory on May 8," Duchesne said.
DeWine was joined by Robert Sprague, an Ohio House member from Findlay running for the GOP nomination of treasurer in the only down-ticket race for statewide office on the primary ballot. He is opposed by former Ashtabula County Auditor Sandra O’Brien. The winner will face unopposed Cincinnati Democrat Rob Richardson in the fall election.