GOP’s Karl Rove asks donors to help Ohio Supreme Court justice retain seat

Ohio

A letter obtained by The Associated Press shows Rove, who served as President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist, pleading with wealthy donors and various Ohio law firms to donate to Republican Justice Judith French’s campaign as the court’s conservative majority is up for grabs on Nov. 3.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 11:37 AM

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Influential Republican strategist Karl Rove is soliciting donations for an Ohio Supreme Court candidate’s reelection bid, signaling the high stakes involved in controlling the battleground state’s high court when congressional maps are redrawn next year.

Rove’s fundraising plea focused on not wanting Republicans to yield power over redistricting to Democrats, whose own line-drawing effort has been joined by former President Barack Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder.

A letter obtained by The Associated Press shows Rove, who served as President George W. Bush’s chief political strategist, pleading with wealthy donors and various Ohio law firms to donate to Republican Justice Judith French’s campaign as the court’s conservative majority is up for grabs on Nov. 3.

“I don’t often lend my name to statewide races, but Judi French’s race is too important,” Rove writes.

The letter is the latest indication that local and state races, sometimes overlooked in a general election season, are seen as instrumental for both political parties this year.

The former Bush adviser lays out what he calls the high-stakes race between French and Democratic state appeals court Judge Jennifer Brunner, a one-time U.S. Senate contender and former Ohio secretary of state.

Rove tells potential donors “well-funded left-wing interest groups from outside Ohio” are vying to unseat French in order to redraw the lines of state legislative and congressional districts to benefit Democrats.

In an email, Rove said his pleas for donations to French are unrelated to his work for the Republican State Leadership Committee, a national group whose board he joined in April.

The group, which focuses on electing Republicans in state-level races, has also taken an interest in Ohio’s Supreme Court races.

The group recently aired a TV campaign against Brunner, saying “reckless” judges like her “risk our children’s safety,” in reference to a February case she ruled on that involved a teacher convicted of voyeurism for recording videos of girls undressing.

The state Democratic Party defended Brunner, saying she followed the law in a “difficult case,” and called for French to disavow the ad and demand the RSLC take it down.

Records show the committee has been funneling donations to its two initiatives, the Right Lines Initiative and the Judicial Fairness Initiative, ahead of the 2020 election season, in an effort to dominate the legislatures and high courts in major battleground states like Ohio.

Right Lines 2020 is a project intended to produce district maps that will help the GOP party over the next decade.

In his letter, Rove notes the more than $50 million the National Democratic Redistricting Committee has pledged to spend this election cycle, and he urges Republicans to fight back.

The Democratic initiative, led by Holder and backed by Obama, has endorsed 200-plus state candidates and invested about $2 million into the contests.

“This is a real threat to Ohio, and if Judi is defeated for reelection, it will have national ramifications,” Rove writes.

On the other side of the aisle, the RSLC’s Judicial Fairness Initiative is the project funding campaigns like French’s Supreme Court race, with at least $1.2 million funneled into the project in 2019 alone, according to the group’s filings.

Other major funders of the initiative include the family of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, who gave the RSLC around $950,000 between 2015 and 2017.

The political group also got more than $250,000 from the for-profit tech education company K12 Inc., whose investors have included DeVos and Michael Milken, the convicted junk-bond king pardoned by President Donald Trump earlier this year.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 324537

Reported Deaths: 5594
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion44186858
Lake28094462
Allen18660301
Elkhart17663230
St. Joseph17256234
Hamilton13612170
Vanderburgh10028121
Tippecanoe896729
Porter855386
Johnson6718169
Hendricks6412158
Vigo625889
Monroe550450
Clark531078
Madison5239122
Delaware5075103
LaPorte481196
Kosciusko475941
Howard364177
Bartholomew335365
Warrick335372
Floyd329478
Wayne325678
Marshall311846
Cass303931
Grant287150
Hancock272957
Noble264946
Henry256437
Boone255054
Dubois245631
Dearborn228231
Jackson226334
Morgan221243
Gibson194926
Knox193021
Shelby192656
Clinton185421
DeKalb183932
Lawrence183849
Wabash172821
Adams172422
Miami170815
Daviess163145
Fayette153734
Steuben153414
Jasper151713
Montgomery149327
Harrison147624
LaGrange146131
Ripley145815
Whitley142314
Huntington133510
Decatur132543
Putnam131128
White131022
Wells130130
Clay130023
Randolph128121
Posey125816
Jefferson124116
Scott114520
Greene106053
Sullivan102716
Jay101913
Starke95022
Jennings90414
Spencer8908
Fulton87519
Perry85121
Fountain8228
Washington8127
Franklin73427
Carroll71913
Orange70028
Vermillion6607
Owen6468
Tipton60327
Parke6026
Newton57812
Rush5708
Blackford56612
Pike52719
Pulaski41815
Martin3705
Benton3643
Brown3574
Crawford3081
Union2782
Switzerland2655
Warren2562
Ohio2387
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 399808

Reported Deaths: 6346
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin52652672
Cuyahoga39132746
Hamilton31491372
Montgomery21355242
Butler15768149
Lucas15301420
Summit14667330
Stark9780209
Warren878777
Mahoning7985301
Lake752566
Lorain7149106
Clermont622953
Delaware597337
Licking589977
Trumbull5867148
Fairfield576464
Greene559568
Clark5438129
Allen518389
Medina496557
Marion489359
Wood4861108
Miami456268
Pickaway410548
Portage385574
Columbiana376599
Tuscarawas360567
Richland349639
Wayne340894
Mercer299248
Muskingum262510
Hancock257240
Ross251259
Darke246160
Auglaize243935
Erie240868
Ashtabula240454
Putnam234549
Geauga227051
Union20838
Scioto204316
Lawrence201139
Shelby199917
Athens19984
Seneca192919
Belmont176729
Madison172019
Sandusky166429
Huron163022
Preble162521
Defiance149923
Holmes146939
Knox139719
Logan139018
Jefferson138113
Fulton135826
Crawford134417
Washington133427
Ottawa128830
Ashland117328
Williams11479
Clinton113115
Highland108118
Brown10755
Hardin107019
Henry105423
Champaign10535
Jackson102012
Van Wert99918
Fayette97317
Guernsey96814
Morrow9682
Coshocton91015
Perry86613
Adams83813
Gallia81615
Pike7921
Wyandot76118
Paulding70012
Hocking68516
Noble65124
Carroll53210
Meigs41712
Monroe34921
Morgan2925
Harrison2433
Vinton2326
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 30°
Angola
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 30°
Huntington
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 50° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 29°
Decatur
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 32°
Van Wert
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 32°
Warm Sunday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events