Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost made it official today, ending his candidacy for Ohio Attorney General and instead launching a bid to become Ohio Auditor, a move that angers some conservatives.
“Business, political and grassroots leaders across this great state have called on me during the last several days to put aside my personal plans and fill a gap in our party’s ticket — to step up and bring my skills and passion for public integrity to this most important work,” Yost said in a prepared statement. “After much prayer, reflection and taking of counsel, I have decided to run for Auditor of State.”
Yost’s decision is a setback for the Cincinnati Tea Party movement, which urged him to remain in the AG race. Tea Party leader Mike Wilson believes the Ohio Republican Party chairman wants Yost in the GOP primary for state auditor so conservatives cannot vote for Yost for AG, clearing the path for former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine. DeWine also is running for attorney general.
The other Republican seeking the party’s nomination for auditor is State Rep. Seth Morgan of Huber Heights, near Dayton.
Kevin DeWine, the state GOP chairman, is cousin of Mike DeWine. The latter DeWine is disliked by many Teabaggers and other conservatives for allegedly casting too many moderate votes while serving in the U.S. Senate.
“I think both Morgan and Yost are good candidates and I think it is terrible that the (Ohio Republican Party) is attempting to manipulate the outcome in these races to pit good conservatives against each other to allow a (Republican In Name Only) like Mike DeWine to run uncontested,” Wilson wrote in a mass e-mail to followers.
Incumbent Auditor Mary Taylor, a Republican, isn’t seeking reelection. She decided to run as John Kasich's running mate in the gubernatorial race. That set off a scramble among GOP hopefuls.
The Democratic nominee is Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper, a Cincinnati native who lives in Anderson Township.
Yost’s entry in the auditor’s race puts the state GOP in an odd position.
When incumbent Taylor looked like she would run, Republicans attacked Pepper for not being a certified public accountant (CPA), which they said provided skills essential to the position. Pepper replied that most state auditors throughout the decades haven’t been CPAs.
Yost isn't a CPA; Morgan, however, is.
Before Yost, Republican leaders also asked ex-attorney general and ex-auditor Betty Montgomery and ex-attorney general Jim Petro to run in the auditor’s race. Neither are CPAs, which seems to undercut the GOP’s prime argument against Pepper.
Yost, a lawyer, seems a better fit for attorney general, many observers say. DeWine also is a lawyer.