Out-of-state Democrats are cheering the defeat of a proposal in Ohio that would have raised the threshold for amending the state constitution from a simple majority vote to 60%, after Buckeye state Republicans spent weeks accusing them of intervening in local affairs.
Democrats who campaigned against the proposal said it was aimed at making it harder to protect abortion rights in Ohio. But its supporters pointed to another provision that would have required signatures from all of Ohio’s 88 counties, rather than 44, for a proposal to get on the ballot, and said it enabled more Ohioans to have a voice in their constitutional amendment process.
National groups on both sides put money into the nationally-watched special election on Tuesday. After Issue 1 was defeated 57% to 43%, prominent Democrats were quick to paint it as a national victory rather than a state matter.
“Thank you, Ohio, for giving the country hope,” former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said.
On the other coast former Rep. Mondaire Jones, D-N.Y., accused the Ohio GOP of trying to “subvert democracy.”
“Ohio Republicans tried to subvert democracy to ban abortion, but tonight voters rejected their cynical effort,” said Jones, who is mounting a comeback bid against freshman Rep. Mike Lawler, R-N.Y.
“In November 2024, New Yorkers will defeat House Republicans here who would do the same,” he said.
A lawmaker from Virginia, which is increasingly becoming a battleground state, also cheered the result.
“Heartening news from Ohio! I’m glad to see so many voters stand up and use their voices to protect democracy,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va.
Former Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., who unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., for his seat last year, said in her own social media statement: “Democracy wins again! Ohioans have overwhelmingly REJECTED an attempt to make it more difficult for citizens to express their voice. In America, the majority vote matters. Ohio’s voters have spoken. Florida hears you.”
Republicans quickly blamed Issue 1’s defeat on “dark money” from outside of Ohio influencing the vote.
“Unfortunately, we were dramatically outspent by dark money billionaires from California to New York, and the giant ‘for sale’ sign still hangs on Ohio’s constitution. Ohioans will see the devastating impact of this vote soon enough,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, who is running for U.S. Senate in 2024.
Ohio State Rep. Brian Stewart said outside groups spent $15 million to defeat the vote in his state in response to a report on a DC-based right-wing group campaigning for Issue 1.
“$15 *million* has flowed into Ohio from numerous liberal dark money groups nationwide,” Stewart wrote on X, formerly Twitter. “But have no fear, this reporter has cracked the case of the group that spent $20k on some billboards in Hamilton County.”