Mike DeWine

Richard Michael DeWine (born January 5, 1947) is an American politician serving as the 70th governor of Ohio. A member of the Republican Party, DeWine is a former United States Senator, elected in 1994 and re-elected in 2000. In 2006, DeWine ran for re-election to a third term but lost to the Democratic nominee, U.S. Representative Sherrod Brown. DeWine had served as Lieutenant Governor of Ohio under George Voinovich from 1991 until 1994. In 2010, DeWine was elected Ohio Attorney General, defeating Democratic incumbent Richard Cordray, and was re-elected for a second term in 2014. In the 2018 gubernatorial election, DeWine was elected Governor of Ohio, defeating Cordray in a rematch of their 2010 race.[3]

Mike DeWine
70th Governor of Ohio
Assumed office
January 14, 2019
LieutenantJon Husted
Preceded byJohn Kasich
50th Attorney General of Ohio
In office
January 10, 2011  January 14, 2019
GovernorJohn Kasich
Preceded byRichard Cordray
Succeeded byDave Yost
United States Senator
from Ohio
In office
January 3, 1995  January 3, 2007
Preceded byHoward Metzenbaum
Succeeded bySherrod Brown
59th Lieutenant Governor of Ohio
In office
January 14, 1991  November 12, 1994
GovernorGeorge Voinovich
Preceded byPaul Leonard
Succeeded byNancy Hollister
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Ohio's 7th district
In office
January 3, 1983  January 3, 1991
Preceded byBud Brown
Succeeded byDave Hobson
Member of the Ohio Senate
from the 10th district
In office
January 2, 1981  December 13, 1982
Preceded byJohn Mahoney
Succeeded byDave Hobson
Prosecutor of Greene County
In office
Preceded byNicholas Carrera[1]
Succeeded byWilliam Schenck[2]
Personal details
Richard Michael DeWine

(1947-01-05) January 5, 1947
Yellow Springs, Ohio, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Frances Struewing
Children8, including Pat
ResidenceGovernor's Mansion
EducationMiami University (B.A.)
Ohio Northern University (J.D.)

Prior to his being nominated as Voinovich's running mate in the 1990 election, DeWine served as a four-term U.S. Representative for Ohio's 7th congressional district beginning in 1983. He also served a term as an Ohio State Senator.

Personal life

DeWine was born and grew up in Yellow Springs, Ohio,[4] the son of Jean Ruth (Liddle) and Richard Lee DeWine.[5][6] He lives in Cedarville, Ohio. Of Irish descent, he was raised and identifies as a Roman Catholic.[7][8][9] DeWine earned his Bachelor of Science degree in education from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1969 and a Juris Doctor from Ohio Northern University College of Law in 1972.

He and his wife Frances have been married since June 3, 1967,[10] and have had eight children, one of whom died in an automobile accident in 1993.[11] Current Ohio Supreme Court Justice R. Patrick DeWine is Mike DeWine's son. Former Ohio Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine (R-Fairborn) is DeWine's second cousin. DeWine and his family own Minor League Baseball's Asheville Tourists.[12]

Early political career

At age 25, DeWine started working as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Greene County, Ohio, and in 1976 was elected County Prosecutor, serving for four years.[13][14] In 1980 he was elected to the Ohio State Senate and served one two-year term.[14]

Two years later, U.S. Representative Bud Brown of Ohio's 7th congressional district retired after 26 years in Congress; his father, Clarence Brown, Sr., had held the seat for 26 years before that. DeWine won the Republican nomination, assuring him of election in November. He was re-elected three more times from this district, which stretches from his home in Springfield to the Columbus suburbs. He ran unopposed in 1986 during what is regarded as a bad year for Republicans nationally. DeWine gave up his seat in 1990 to run for Lieutenant Governor of Ohio as the running mate of George Voinovich. The Voinovich-DeWine ticket was easily elected.

In 1992, DeWine unsuccessfully ran against the former astronaut and incumbent Senator John Glenn. His campaign used the phrase, "What on earth has John Glenn done?"[15]

U.S. Senate

In 1994, DeWine ran for the United States Senate, defeating prominent attorney Joel Hyatt (the son-in-law of the then-incumbent U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum) by a 14-point margin. DeWine was re-elected in 2000, defeating gunshow promoter Ronald Dickson (161,185 votes, or 12.44%) and former U.S. Rep. Frank Cremeans (104,219 votes, or 8.05%) in the primary[16] and Ted Celeste (brother of former Ohio Gov. Dick Celeste) in the general election. DeWine was defeated in the 2006 midterm elections by Democrat Sherrod Brown, receiving 905,644 fewer votes in 2006 than he received in 2000.[17][18]

DeWine had seats on the Senate Judiciary and Select Intelligence committees.


DeWine was the initial sponsor of the Drug-Free Century Act in 1999.[19]

Post-Senate career

Academics and law

DeWine accepted positions teaching government courses at Cedarville University, Ohio Northern University and Miami University. In 2007, he joined the law firm Keating Muething & Klekamp as corporate investigations group co-chair.[20] He also advised the Ohio campaign of John McCain's 2008 presidential bid.[21]

Attorney General of Ohio

On July 21, 2009, DeWine announced his intention to run for Attorney General of the State of Ohio.[22] On November 2, 2010, DeWine was elected attorney general, defeating incumbent Richard Cordray (D), 48–46%.[23] As attorney general of Ohio, DeWine sent letters to drugstore chains, encouraging them to discontinue the sale of tobacco products.[24]

In the 2012 Republican presidential primary, DeWine endorsed Tim Pawlenty, then endorsed Mitt Romney after Pawlenty dropped out of the race. On February 17, 2012, DeWine announced he was retracting his endorsement of Mitt Romney and endorsed Rick Santorum. DeWine said, "To be elected president, you have to do more than tear down your opponents. You have to give the American people a reason to vote for you, a reason to hope, a reason to believe that under your leadership, America will be better. Rick Santorum has done that. Sadly, Governor Romney has not."[25]

On November 4, 2014, DeWine was re-elected as attorney general by defeating challenger David A. Pepper.[26] DeWine carried 83 out of Ohio's 88 counties.[27]

In 2015, as Attorney General of Ohio, DeWine filed a lawsuit in federal court in Ohio against a part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).[28][29] In the suit, DeWine alleged that the ACA's Transitional Reinsurance Program (which imposed a fee "paid by all employers who provide group health insurance in the workplace", which in 2014 was $63 per covered person and in 2015 was $44 per covered person) was unconstitutional as applied to state and local governments.[30] When he filed the suit, DeWine claimed that the fee was "an unprecedented attempt to destroy the balance of authority between the federal government and the states."[30]

In January 2016, the federal court dismissed DeWine's suit, with U.S. District Judge Algenon L. Marbley holding that the Transitional Reinsurance Program did not violate the Constitution.[30] DeWine appealed, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed Judge Marbley's dismissal of the suit.[31]

Criminal justice

DeWine’s stated goal has been “Protecting Ohio Families.”[32] To that effect, Attorney General DeWine made it a priority to significantly reduce DNA testing turnaround times in connection with open criminal investigations. Under his predecessor, DNA testing at the Ohio Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) took approximately four months in cases such as murders, rapes, and assaults. Under the DeWine administration, DNA test results are now returned to local law enforcement in less than a month, leading to faster apprehension of dangerous suspects.[33]

Upon taking office in 2011, Attorney General DeWine launched a special sexual assault kit (SAK) testing initiative after learning that hundreds of police departments across Ohio had thousands of untested rape kits on their evidence room shelves. DeWine invested resources to test the 13,931 previously untested rape kits over the course of his administration, which led to more than 5,000 DNA hits in the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS).[34] These DNA matches led to the indictments of approximately 700 alleged rapists, many of whom were serial attackers, connected to cases that would never have been solved if not for the DeWine initiative.[35]

DeWine also launched the Crimes Against Children Initiative, which paired BCI criminal investigators with seasoned prosecuting attorneys to investigate and prosecute child predators. DeWine’s Crimes Against Children Initiative focuses on holding accountable those who sexually and physically abuse children, those who share and view child pornography, and those who target children online.[36] DeWine’s office also developed several task forces for the investigation and prosecutions of human trafficking throughout the state.[37]


As attorney general, DeWine took steps to close down "pill mills" in Ohio that fueled the opioid epidemic. By the end of his first year in office, DeWine had worked to close all 12 pill mills in Scioto County,[38] considered by many to have been the national center of the prescription drug crisis.[39] DeWine's efforts also led to more than 100 doctors and pharmacists losing their licenses for improper prescription practices.[40] In 2013, DeWine formed a new Heroin Unit to provide Ohio communities with law enforcement, legal, and outreach assistance to combat the state’s heroin problem. The Heroin Unit draws from new and existing office resources, including: BCI investigative and laboratory services, Ohio Organized Crime Investigations Commission assistance, prosecutorial support, and outreach and education services.[41] In October 2017, DeWine announced a 12-pronged plan to combat the opioid epidemic, drawing from his experience breaking up pill mills, prosecuting traffickers, supporting recovery, and advocating the importance of drug-use prevention education.[42] In addition, Attorney General DeWine has gone after the pharmaceutical industry, suing opioid manufacturers[43] and distributors[44] for their alleged roles in fraudulent marketing and unsafe distribution of opioids that fueled the epidemic in Ohio and across the country.

Columbus Crew relocation lawsuit

In October 2017, news reports surfaced that Anthony Precourt, the investor-operator of the Columbus Crew, was exploring the option of moving the team out of state.[45] After the move of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore in the late 1990s, the Ohio General Assembly passed a law requiring professional sports teams that had accepted tax-payer assistance to provide an opportunity for local owners to purchase the team before initiating a move.[46] In December 2017, DeWine sent a letter to Precourt reminding him of his obligations under Ohio law.[47] After Precourt failed to respond, DeWine filed a lawsuit in March 2018 against Precourt and Major League Soccer to enforce Ohio law and insist upon a reasonable opportunity for local investors to buy the team.[48] As the lawsuit played out in court, an investor group including Dee and Jimmy Haslam, owners of the Cleveland Browns, and the Columbus-based Edwards family announced in October 2018 they were working out the details of a deal to keep the Crew in Columbus.[49]

Governor of Ohio

2018 election

On May 26, 2016, DeWine announced that he would run for Governor of Ohio in 2018.[50] He reconfirmed this on June 25, 2017, at the annual ice cream social held at his home in Cedarville, Ohio. On December 1, 2017, DeWine officially chose Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted as his running mate. On May 8, 2018, DeWine successfully won the Republican primary, defeating incumbent Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, with 59.8% of the vote. He faced Democratic nominee and former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray in the general election, their second election against each other, defeating him by a margin of about 4%.


On February 22, 2019, President Trump appointed Governor DeWine to the bipartisan Council of Governors.[51]

On August 4, 2019, a mass shooting occurred in Dayton, Ohio, which killed ten people and injured twenty-seven others; this followed a separate mass shooting in El Paso, Texas by just thirteen hours.[52] At a vigil for the victims of the Dayton shooting the next day, DeWine was drowned out by a crowd chanting 'Do something!'; the chant referred to the lack of legislative gun control actions on the state and federal level.[52] On August 6, DeWine announced a seventeen-point plan to reduce gun violence,[53] including a "safety protection order" known in other states as a "red flag law", which allows judges to confiscate firearms from those deemed potentially dangerous and to provide those individuals with mental health treatment while maintaining their due process rights.[53][54][55] Other notable aspects of DeWine's plan include: expanded background checks before purchasing a firearm, increased access to psychiatric and behavioral health services, and increased penalties for illegally possessing firearms.[53][54][55]

Political positions


In April 2019, DeWine signed House Bill 493, known as the Ohio "Heartbeat Bill", into law, therein prohibiting abortion after a heartbeat is detected in a fetus, including in cases of rape and incest, imposing one of the most extensive abortion restrictions in the nation.[56][57] DeWine is opposed to abortion. In the Senate, he was the lead sponsor of the Unborn Victims of Violence Act.[58]

Gun control

In 2004, DeWine co-sponsored an amendment to renew the Federal Assault Weapons Ban. He has repeatedly received an "F" rating from the National Rifle Association.[60] He was endorsed by the National Rifle Association for Governor.[61] He was one of only two Republican Senators to vote against the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act,[62] which banned lawsuits against gun manufacturers, distributors and dealers for criminal misuse of their products. In the 2006 election cycle, DeWine was the first senatorial candidate to be endorsed by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and displayed that endorsement on his campaign webpage.[63] In 2019, Governor DeWine proposed a Red Flag Law for Ohio that would allow courts to take a gun from a person if they are seen as a threat to others or themselves.[64]

Highway safety

As U.S. Senator, DeWine joined a bipartisan effort to lower the national maximum blood-alcohol limit from 0.10% to 0.08%, and to require reporting of vehicle-related deaths on private property like parking lots and driveways.[65] He sponsored legislation on determining when aging tires become unsafe.[66]

Same-sex marriage

DeWine opposes same-sex marriage[67] and sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would have prevented same-sex marriage.[68] DeWine argued in the Supreme Court in favor of prohibitions on same-sex marriage, saying that prohibitions on same-sex marriage infringes on "no fundamental right".[69][70] He argued that states should not have to recognize same-sex couples who married in other states.[69]

Net neutrality

As Attorney General of Ohio, DeWine did not join the lawsuits that over 22 states filed in the months following FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai's proposal to roll back online consumer protections, and net neutrality regulations.[71]

Electoral history

Primary election results
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1992 U.S. Senator Primary Mike DeWine Republican 583,805 70.30% George Rhodes Republican 246,625 29.70%
1994 U.S. Senator Primary Mike DeWine Republican 422,367 52.04% Bernadine Healy Republican 263,560 32.47% Gene Watts Republican 83,103 10.24% George Rhodes Republican 42,633 5.25%
2000 U.S. Senator Primary Mike DeWine Republican 1,029,860 79.51% Ronald Richard Dickson Republican 161,185 12.44% Frank Cremeans Republican 104,219 8.05%
2006 U.S. Senator Primary Mike DeWine Republican 565,580 71.71% David Smith Republican 114,186 14.48% William Pierce Republican 108,978 13.82%
General election results[72][73]
Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1982 U.S. Representative General Mike DeWine Republican 87,842 56.26% Roger D. Tackett Democratic 65,543 41.97% John B. Winer Libertarian 2,761 1.77%
1984 U.S. Representative General Mike DeWine Republican 147,885 76.68% Donald E. Scott Democratic 40,621 21.06% N/A Independent 4,352 2.26%
1986 U.S. Representative General Mike DeWine Republican 119,238 100%
1988 U.S. Representative General Mike DeWine Republican 142,597 73.88% Jack Schira Democratic 50,423 26.12%
1990 Lieutenant Governor of Ohio General Mike DeWine Republican 1,938,103 55.73% Eugene Branstool Democratic 1,539,416 44.27%
1992 U.S. Senator General Mike DeWine Republican 2,028,300 42.31% John Glenn Democratic 2,444,419 50.99% Martha Grevatt Workers World Party 321,234 6.70%
1994 U.S. Senator General Mike DeWine Republican 1,836,556 53.44% Joel Hyatt Democratic 1,348,213 39.23% Joseph J. Slovenec Independent 252,031 7.33%
2000 U.S. Senator General Mike DeWine Republican 2,666,736 60.0% Ted Celeste Democratic 1,597,122 35.9% John McAlister Libertarian 117,466 2.4% John Eastman Natural Law 70,738 1.6% *
2006 U.S. Senator General Mike DeWine Republican 1,761,092 43.82% Sherrod Brown Democratic 2,257,485 56.16% Richard Duncan Write-in 830 0.02%
2010 Attorney General of Ohio General Mike DeWine Republican 1,821,414 47.54% Richard Cordray Democratic 1,772,728 46.26% Robert Owens Constitution 130,065 3.39% Marc Feldman Libertarian 107,521 2.81%
2014 Attorney General of Ohio General Mike DeWine Republican 1,882,048 61.50% David Pepper Democratic 1,178,426 38.50%
2018 Governor of Ohio General Mike DeWine Republican 2,187,619 50.66% Richard Cordray Democratic 2,005,627 46.45 Travis Irvine Libertarian 77,184 1.79% Constance Gadell-Newton Green 47,664 1.10%

*Write-in candidates Michael Fitzsimmons received 45 votes (< 1%) and Patrick Flower received 29 votes (< 1%).


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  58. See S. 1019 (Unborn Victims of Violence Act), introduced May 7, 2003; S. 146 (Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2003), introduced January 13, 2003; S.480 (Unborn Victims of Violence Act of 2001), introduced January 7, 2001. See also Karen MacPherson, "Senate votes to outlaw harming the unborn; abortion activists fear women's rights eroded" (March 26, 2004), Toledo Blade; Carl Hulse, "Senate Outlaws Injury to Fetus During a Crime" (March 26, 2004), New York Times; Sheryl Gay Stolberg, "Washington Talk: From CNN to Congress, Legislation by Anecdote" (May 8, 2003), New York Times.
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