Dewine Praises Husted as Potential Successor in Ohio Governor Race


As Republicans consider the 2026 governor’s election, current GOP Gov. Mike DeWine believes Lt. Gov. Jon Husted would do an outstanding job.

“Jon Husted will be a great governor,” DeWine told reporters and editors from the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau. “He’s been a magnificent lieutenant governor.”

The race is over two years away, but numerous notable Republican officials, including Husted and Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, are interested in the position.

Husted campaigned for governor against DeWine in 2017, positioning himself as the more conservative, pro-Second Amendment candidate. But DeWine and Husted agreed to team together to clear the GOP field, and they later defeated fellow Republican Mary Taylor, who served as Gov. John Kasich’s deputy governor. They defeated Democrat Rich Cordray in November 2018, on a year when Democrats swept the nation.

Husted has extensive experience in Ohio politics, having served as lieutenant governor, secretary of state, speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives, and state senator representing a portion of the Dayton region. DeWine described Husted as a “great partner” in the administration’s main initiatives.

Husted, however, disagreed with DeWine’s recent rejection of a bill that would restrict transgender youngsters’ medical treatment and prohibit transgender females from participating in female sports.

“Men should not compete in women’s sports,” Husted stated in a post on X, which was previously known as Twitter. “Permanent medical choices about gender should not be made when you are a youngster. I hope the SAFE Act becomes law in Ohio.”

The Ohio House of Representatives decided to overturn DeWine’s veto, and the Senate intends to do so this week.

Husted has also backed former President Donald Trump’s 2024 reelection campaign. DeWine has not commented on the presidential campaign, telling the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, “I’m going to stay focused on Ohio.”

When questioned about the trend of first-time “outsider” candidates competing for major posts, DeWine grinned. “I’m probably the wrong guy to ask.”

However, DeWine believes that experience is crucial in the role of governor. “I think that experience does matter, experience in dealing with how government works, how government doesn’t work.”

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