The 2018 midterm elections are closer than they appear.
With the 2018 midterm elections right around the corner, candidates have already begun to vie for statewide offices. These include the heavily contested race for Governor, as well as Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State. Currently, Republicans hold every single statewide office. But with the tumultuous climate at the federal level, these down ballot races could be more contentious than previously anticipated. As the candidates jockey for position in the early stages of the primary, it is important to know who is running. The first installation of the “Know Your Candidate” series is dedicated to Frank LaRose, candidate for Secretary of State.
LaRose (R-Hudson) is the current Senator for Ohio’s 27th District. The 38 year old, former Army Green Beret, was first elected in 2010 by a wide margin — having never held elected office before. But this was not his first experience with politics.
In the 3rd grade, LaRose was introduced to the democratic practices our Constitutional Republic establishes. He realized that the township in which he lived, Copley Township, did not have an official flag. Seeing as the surrounding towns did, Frank thought this to be inconsistent. So he took it upon himself to make a change. With the help of his school’s librarian, Frank drafted a proposal to construct an official Township flag. The Board of Trustees in Copley Township took his proposal and modified it slightly, in creating a contest to design the flag-to-be. The eventually chosen design remains the official insignia today. This has left a lasting impression on him.
Upon his decision to join the Army, Frank couldn’t help but reflect back stories of the Battle of Normandy. His troop leader was a veteran of the Normandy invasion, and just last year he brought a troop of Boy Scouts to visit the beaches of France so renowned today. Stories of liberating concentration camps and marching across Europe to thwart the forces of evil inspired LaRose to enlist: a decision he made the moment he turned 18.
Since returning home, LaRose has viewed everything he’s done as a continuation of the service to his country. Meanwhile, Frank has positioned himself as the “Elections Guy” of the Ohio Senate. In sponsoring one of the State’s most significant pieces of electoral legislation — Senate Joint Resolution 3 — he asserts his desire to ensure a more fair electoral process. LaRose says protecting the right to vote, which is the foundation of our governmental system, is essential for a free society. This has remained a focus for LaRose in the Senate, and is one he carries over in his bid for Secretary of State. The ability to ensure “your vote is accurately counted, and to prevent fraudulent voting, is the underpinning of our democracy,” LaRose stated.
If elected, LaRose would be blessed with not having to clean up a mess. “[Jon] Husted has run a good shop,” LaRose said of the current Ohio Secretary of State. Frank would like to continue the efficiency improvements made by Husted’s office over the last seven years. One of the responsibilities given to the Secretary of State of which many citizens are not aware is in business licensing. Protecting trademarks is an area in which a LaRose Secretary of State office would look to address. A company is able to apply for a trademark with the State of Ohio, as long as it has not been taken already. This opens the door for minor tweaks to an already established company’s name, in the hopes of tricking customers into believing they are buying the products of the former company.
LaRose sees this as backhanded practice. Better alerting established companies (big or small) of attempted trademark deception is something on which a LaRose office would concentrate. A good way to address these business-oriented problems is to create a Chancery Court which would resolve these inter-company issues. Delaware has seen great success with this, and is something LaRose hopes to emulate.
“Stories of liberating concentration camps and marching across Europe to thwart the forces of evil inspired LaRose to enlist: a decision he made the moment he turned 18.”
Perhaps his biggest accomplishment has been taking the lead on laying the ground work for what became 2015 Ballot Issue 1. The bill establishes a 7-member Ohio Redistricting Commission, made up of the top Democrat and Republican in the House, and the top Democrat and Republican in the Senate, along with the Governor, Auditor, and Secretary of State (who chairs the commission). To pass a redistricting map, it must include support from at least two minority members in the commission. With enormous support from voters, in the form of 2015 Ballot Issue 1, it passed with over 70% of the vote. LaRose views this commission as suitable to the federal level as well. With congressional redistricting becoming a very heated topic of discussion, he hopes to see this solution make headway.
LaRose says that “voters dislike the ‘winner-take-all’ system where the party in control can draw lines with impunity, as long as it doesn’t violate the Constitution.” Gerrymandering, Larose states “violates the basic principles of democracy [that] voters should pick their politicians, instead of politicians picking their voters.” He sees this as a form of “tough-love” for his party, because of the unsustainability of relying on redistricting to win elections. LaRose prefers winning based on merit in ideas and policy. Competition improves the quality of return we all see in our government, Larose added.
In relation to one of the often-discussed issue of voter fraud, LaRose said that it is “rare, but serious.” He went on to clarify that “[voter fraud] did not affect the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, but any instance of voter fraud is too much.” Along with the threat to the many elections decided by a minute percentage, voter fraud harms the confidence of the citizenry. Voter fraud is a felony, and when it occurs it “must be prosecuted,” LaRose then went on to say. However, oftentimes it has been used as a way to impair the confidence in the electoral system. This happens on both sides with the Left exaggerating voter suppression, and the Right overstating voter fraud. Both tendencies assert that the results cannot be trusted, but LaRose insists that the way we conduct elections is this country is second to none. The system works, just as it always has.
LaRose’s innate focus, and diligent hard work on elections issues makes him a formidable candidate to be Ohio’s next Secretary of State. After two years of driving to various parts of the State, and having met with nearly every county Republican Party Chair in Ohio, LaRose has positioned himself a top-tier candidate. Democrats will likely target this seat, specifically because they want to be able to control elections in Ohio, and LaRose believes he is the candidate to prevent that. As of the July filing deadline, LaRose lead all Secretary of State Candidates with $492,022 and had $555,717 cash on hand.
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