By John Celock
Ohio’s secretary of state spun critical comments about rural areas from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton into his favor as he entered the 2018 Republican contest for governor over the weekend.
Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) became the fourth Republican to enter the growing field for governor Saturday. A former state legislative leader, Husted highlighted his upbringing in rural Ohio, talking in a video about his values being shaped in Montpelier, before noting the comments from the former president and former secretary of state.
“As Barack Obama said folks here cling to our religion and our guns,” Husted said of where he is from. “There is no doubt that our family would fit into Hillary Clinton’s ‘basket of deplorables’ and we’re proud of it.”
Obama made the comments during a 2008 fundraiser in San Francisco, where he was describing voters in small towns in Pennsylvania and the Midwest. Clinton’s comments came last year during a New York City fundraiser for her unsuccessful presidential campaign, where described half of President Donald Trump’s supporters a “basket of deplorables.”
Showing footage of Montpelier, Husted described the values he received from the community.
“This small town is where my values were formed. Families are strong, faith is deep and neighbors stand ready to lend a hand,” he said.
He noted that his father worked in a local factory for a quarter century before a layoff forced the family to relocate. He said that he wants to focus on economic development in the state if elected.
Husted is in his second term as secretary of state, an office he is term limited from seeking reelection to next year. A former speaker of the state House of Representatives and state senator, Husted was first elected as Ohio’s chief elections officer in 2010.
Husted enters a growing field to succeed Gov. John Kasich (R), who is term-limited. On the Republican side, Husted enters into what is shaping up as a four-way contest with Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci. Kasich has indicated that Taylor is his preferred successor.
On the Democratic side, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state Rep. Connie Pillich and state Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni have all entered the field. U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, a former state attorney general and state treasurer, is considered a potential gubernatorial candidate.