A nominee for statewide office is breaking away from the top of the ticket when it comes to Issue 1. The constitutional amendment would reduce criminal sentences for non-violent drug offenders, and it’s becoming a major issue for several campaigns.
Democratic Attorney General nominee Steve Dettelbach says he’ll vote "no" on Issue 1. He argues that while it’s a worthy cause, putting it in the state constitution makes it too difficult to amend.
This puts Dettelbach at odds with Democrat governor nominee Richard Cordray, who supports Issue 1.
"While our candidates up and down the ticket may not see every issue the exact same way, Democrats as a whole are committed to increased treatment, public safety and criminal justice reform, whether it be through Issue 1 or other reforms or legislation," says Ohio Democratic Party spokesperson David DeWitt.
Witt says that the party has not taken a formal position on Issue 1.
Dettelbach’s Republican opponent Dave Yost is also against Issue 1, but criticized Dettelbach for taking weeks to come to this conclusion.
Republican governor candidate Mike DeWine has made his opposition to Issue 1 a main talking point in his campaign against Cordray, saying the measure would be soft on trafficking and take incentives away from offenders to seek treatment in order to avoid prison time.
"The opioid epidemic has spiraled out of control on Mike DeWine's watch, yet he still wants to double down on the same failing approach," said Cordray spokesperson Mike Gwin in a statement saying. "As governor and Attorney General, Rich Cordray and Steve Dettelbach will work together to aggressively go after drug traffickers and make sure that addicts get the treatment they need. The Fraternal Order of Police and law enforcement around Ohio are backing Rich and Steve because they know they're the right choice to keep our communities safe."