Ohio’s Republican Party, led by one of the most unpopular governors in the nation, has had plenty of struggles on the policy front in 2011. Gov. John Kasich’s (R) budget is immensely unpopular, and the two other landmark pieces of legislation passed by the GOP and signed by Kasich are subject to referendum campaigns.
But the party’s real trouble so far has been the struggles of some of its members to abide by the law. Three Ohio Republicans have had run-ins with the law this year. State Rep. Robert Mecklenborg (R) was arrested for drunk driving with a stripper in his car. State Rep. Jarrod Martin (R) has had three drunken incidents with law enforcement, including one in which he was driving with his kids in the car. State Sen. Kris Jordan, meanwhile, is being investigated for a domestic dispute with his wife while he was allegedly drunk and in possession of a firearm.
And in the wake of those run-ins, Ohio-based blog Plunderbund reports that Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine has cast aside the “zero tolerance” policy he instituted for “any candidate or party official who crosses the line.” DeWine, in 2009:
Our party historically upheld the highest standard for ethics and morality in government, but most voters know us better for our hypocrisy. Not an election goes by without a major scandal involving a prominent Republican figure.
We cannot continue to campaign on a higher standard of government if we fail to uphold it, so we must adopt a zero tolerance policy for any candidate or elected official who crosses the line.
But as Plunderbund notes, DeWine, Kasich, and other Republican leaders have not attempted to enforce that zero tolerance policy when it comes to the three members who have had legal problems this year. Mecklenborg resigned July 17 and is leaving office today, but both Martin and Jordan are still serving in their current positions.