Dark Money Tries to make the Pig DeWine Look Good: But Renacci is 8 Points up on the governor, and growing

As I was listening to 55 KRC recently, an ad by Free Ohio, a Super PAC for Ohio’s lost stooge, Mike DeWine attempting to show the troubled governor in a contrasting light to Joe Biden, let me know that after all these years, these political insiders haven’t learned a thing.  After all that Republicans should have learned regarding the Trump presidency, it is evident that these dark money professionals still didn’t understand modern politics.  Mike DeWine has been a disaster for Ohio.  When he runs for office, he always runs as a conservative, but when he’s in office, whether as a senator, Attorney General, or a governor as he is now, he becomes overnight a liberal.  And if Ohio had elected Joe Biden as Governor of Ohio himself, we wouldn’t have done any worse.  So, it was laughable that there was an assumption among the professional political class out there that just a few months before the primary in May of 2022, money spent on ads like the ones Free Ohio is putting out would shape public opinion enough to change minds.  People were there to see how badly DeWine managed the state, especially during Covid, in which he led the nation in lockdowns, being the first to do so and to change election laws which led to the massive corruption of the 2022 election.  DeWine was the first in the country to change election laws during a primary, opening the door to all the other states that did similar things with mail-in ballots, all in the name of “maintaining social distancing during the Covid Plandemic.” 

I had a chance on several occasions during those terrible days of lockdowns in Ohio where members of the business community were on mass conference calls with Governor DeWine to attempt to work out concessions to the rules he and the liberal Obama activist Amy Acton came up with that were costing everyone millions and millions of dollars, by the day.  I have met Mike DeWine at a few events here and there but never really had a chance to talk to him.  Let me just say, DeWine is one of the dumbest people I have ever heard speak.  Under those conference call environments, he had no clue what to do and punted everything in Ohio to the CDC and the Dr. Fauci types, which was scandalous even then.  Now in hindsight, we know that to be even worse advice.  But even when few people really knew the severity of Covid was, DeWine sounded like a complete idiot giving the keys to Ohio over to a bunch of bureaucratic health department types to run all our affairs the way some pot-smoking, stringy-haired hippies might only fantasize about.  I always wondered how DeWine ever called himself a conservative coming from Yellow Springs, Ohio—certainly not my favorite place.  You can almost always smell the pot smoke in Clifton Gorge from Yellow Springs when visiting.  It’s not likely many Republicans would be able to put up with such an environment.  And obviously, getting to know Mike DeWine a bit over these last several years, he’s not a conservative, but the very definition of RINO that there is in the world. 

The Super PAC plans to spend many hundreds of thousands of dollars on this attempt to paint DeWine as a contrast to Biden.  Unfortunately, like many have tried over the last several years, thinking of Mike Bloomberg in Florida against Trump and the Bush money machine against Trump in 2016, they could never move the needle in a significant way in those races.  It is unclear why they would think they could move any opinions in Ohio when the people living in the state have very recent memory and pain over how DeWine ran the state.  Without question, Fox News and traditional outlets like Clear Channel radio corporate advertising are all too happy to take the money of this Super PAC.  For them, that’s what politics is, a chance to sell ads and pay for their content.  But reality shows that DeWine and Joe Biden have been aligned on just about everything over the last four years.  Even topics that don’t involve Covid.  It would be impossible to tell Joe Biden and Mike DeWine apart on paper by voting record.  And to think that money can change people’s memory of these things is pretty insulting, really.  Without question, some people don’t know much about these issues and might fall for such ornamental hype.  But in a primary, which is very surgical in nature, it’s a different kind of voter.  Primary voters are very engaged on the topics and not so easily fooled. 

As I’ve said many times, it’s hard to beat someone in a primary, especially with the corrupt money machine behind DeWine.  He has his voters who profit off the way he has done business over many years in politics.  But with an above-average primary turnout, someone like Jim Renacci could easily beat him in the primary.  Even with all this dark money flowing into traditional media, Jim Renacci is 8 points over DeWine going into February of 2022, which is horrible news for the current governor.  This is good news for those who want to see a more conservative governor in the general election this fall.  But that’s a steep hill for changing opinions no matter how much money is spent.  I suppose it’s worth trying from their perspective, but do they really think that the voters in the upcoming primary are watching Fox News?  I would say most of those people have moved over to other options, more Trump-friendly options.  And Trump is still the kingmaker in Ohio, and of the two candidates that are most in consideration in the primary, Renacci is the Trump guy.  DeWine is about as far from Trump as a Republican can get.  The last time DeWine was on stage with Trump in Ohio, he was booed for being there because of his role in the Covid lockdowns.  Trump is an executive and can get along with anybody.  But he’s certainly not going to go out of his way to support DeWine.  And an endorsement of any kind by Trump can erase away millions and millions of dollars spent by dark money to attempt to change opinions in traditional media. 

More than anything that has been exposed here is the distance between perception and reality.  Fundraising and what can be done with that money is part of the problem in politics.  The money machine creates leverage; that’s how DeWine was able to get many politicians to endorse him for the primary.  If they don’t support the money candidate, which DeWine certainly is, then they would find themselves short during their next election fundraising cycle, which all politicians dread.  One of their biggest problems is picking up the phone and raising money for their campaigns; no matter how good they might be at it, it’s something none of them likes to do.  But listening to this ridiculous Super PAC of DeWine unroll their 2022 primary strategy reveals just how archaic the current system truly is.  Traditional media has lost a lot of power over the last few years, and Trump showed that money in politics couldn’t beat a good message or a great candidate.  And that is certainly the case between Renacci and DeWine.  Renacci is an excellent candidate.  DeWine is a really corrupt and terrible one.  And no amount of money in the world can make the lipstick on that pig look good.

Rich Hoffman

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