COLUMBUS — A Cincinnati-area lawmaker has asked the Ohio House of Representatives to impeach Gov. Mike DeWine.
John Becker (R-Union Township, Clermont County) announced Monday that he has drafted 10 articles of impeachment against DeWine — a Greene County native and Cedarville resident — and called on his House colleagues to support his effort.
“I kept holding out hope that we wouldn’t get to this place,” Becker said in a statement posted on his website. “For months and months, I’ve been hearing the cries of my constituents and of suffering people from every corner of Ohio. They are hurting. Their businesses are declining and depreciating. Their jobs have vanished. The communities that have sustained their lives are collapsing, and becoming shells of what they once were. Living in fear, many have turned to drugs and yes, even suicide, to end or tolerate the unbearable pain inflicted by the governor upon their livelihoods, and the damage caused by his unraveling of the fabric of Ohio. It is long past time to put an end to government gone wild.”
Becker accused DeWine of violating the Ohio and United States Constitutions, as well as multiple sections of the Ohio Revised Code by improperly shutting down the March presidential primary, arbitrarily ordering some businesses closed while allowing others to remain open, and instituting an unpopular statewide mask mandate.
“With deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 flattened, the Governor continues to press his boot on the throat of Ohio’s economy,” Becker said.
It is unclear if Becker has enough support in the House for a successful impeachment.
An impeachment website lists Rep. Nino Vitale, a Republican from Urbana and a frequent critic of DeWine and the mask mandate, and Rep. Paul Zeltwanger, a Republican from Mason in southwestern Ohio, as the only other backers of the movement.
In a text message, Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) who represents the western part of Greene County said that he agrees with his colleagues in regards to executive outreach by DeWine, but the impeachment threshold is “quite high.”
“I believe that Governor DeWine’s actions do not warrant such drastic intervention, but instead hope to restore constitutional balance through working with the governor and giving our constituents a voice,” Perales said. “I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that executive actions will be subject to legislative oversight, as such that was previously proposed.”
Bill Dean (R-Xenia) who represents the central and eastern part of the county confirmed he did not sign on as co-sponsor. “I think the Supreme Court already ruled on that,” he said. “Impeachment you’ve got high crimes of misdemeanor. He’s not committed a high crime of misdemeanor. It might be (actions) people don’t like, and ruin people’s lives and businesses, but I don’t think it’s anything we should impeach him about. The true impeachment is to just not vote him into office.”
A spokesman for the governor said DeWine is focused on fighting COVID-19.
“Governor DeWine is focused on saving lives during the pandemic,” said Dan Tierney, press secretary. “He is focused on helping the economy and getting Ohioans back to work. That is what he is focused on. Not this.”
Democrats slammed the proposal, as did Jane Timken, the head of the Ohio Republican Party. Timken praised DeWine’s efforts during the pandemic and said that in an election year, Republicans should be united in re-electing President Donald Trump.
She called it “despicable” for anyone considering themselves to be conservative to try to impeach DeWine.
Gubernatorial recall elections are not permitted in Ohio and removal by complaint is too arduous and impractical for the citizenry to navigate as a process for taking back their government, according to Becker. The only other option is impeachment.
Articles of impeachment cannot be vetoed, and require a majority (50 votes) in the Ohio House of Representatives and then a two-thirds majority (22 votes) in the Ohio Senate for conviction and removal from office.
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507. The Associated Press contributed to this story.