Republican Abortion Revenge Is At Center Of Drama About Getting Biden On Ohio’s Ballot

This is your TPM evening briefing.
WEST POINT, NEW YORK - MAY 25: President Joe Biden attends commencement exercises for the class of 2024 at West Point on May 25, 2024 in West Point, New York. The West Point graduation is held at Michie Stadium and i... WEST POINT, NEW YORK - MAY 25: President Joe Biden attends commencement exercises for the class of 2024 at West Point on May 25, 2024 in West Point, New York. The West Point graduation is held at Michie Stadium and includes roughly 1,000 cadets graduating and commissioning into the Army as second lieutenants. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

The Democratic National Committee announced Tuesday that it would hold a “virtual roll call” ahead of the party’s August nominating convention in Chicago to pick President Biden as the 2024 candidate, ensuring that he appears on the Ohio ballot — bringing to an end an unnecessary chapter of uncertainty about Biden’s appearance on the ballot in the state, an issue that other states were able to resolve without drama.

Not so with Ohio Republicans, who have used the issue to try to jam through another piece of legislation related to the state abortion ballot proposal that passed with strong support last year, despite state Republicans’ efforts to complicate and tank the measure. Let’s unpack.

The Democratic National Convention is set to take place on Aug. 19-22, which is when the Democratic Party planned to officially nominate Biden as the party’s presidential nominee this year. After the dates were set, Ohio Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced back in April that completing the nomination process in late August would mean missing Ohio’s ballot certification deadline, which falls on August 7. This issue has come up in presidential elections in the past, but state election officials have typically avoided the issue by granting provisional ballot access to major party nominees regardless of the date of conventions. Or they have asked the state legislature to extend the certification deadline. Experts say its historically unprecedented for a state election administrator to enforce the statute, but LaRose penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal Monday defending his decision.

Alabama state law presented a similar issue for the Biden campaign this year as well, but state lawmakers there passed a bill to extend the deadline that Republican Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law as soon as it reached her desk earlier this month.

Ohio lawmakers have been bickering over how to resolve the dilemma for weeks and party leaders in the state legislature announced earlier this month they were at a stalemate over how to address the issue before the end of the legislative session.

So, last week, Ohio Republican Gov. Mike DeWine announced a special legislative session to pass legislation to get Biden on the ballot. But he also announced the special session would include consideration of a bill that would “prohibit campaign spending by foreign nationals” in Ohio elections.

That provision is a non-starter for Ohio Democrats. It is already illegal for foreign nationals to donate to candidates in Ohio. But the legislation is primarily meant to assuage the feelings of state Republicans still upset about the success of “Issue 1,” the citizen-led ballot initiative last year that enshrined abortion access in the state constitution. The campaign to protect abortion in the state became an issue of national focus, particularly after Ohio Republicans tried and failed to make it harder to pass ballot initiatives in the state ahead of the general election.

Abortion rights groups and others got involved in fundraising for “Issue 1.” One of the groups involved was the Sixteen Thirty Fund, which is heavily funded by a Swiss billionaire — hence Ohio Republicans’ hysterics about “foreign nationals” interfering in Ohio elections.

The Ohio Senate came into special session this afternoon and ultimately passed legislation that would push the Ohio ballot certification deadline to Aug. 23, after the Democratic convention — and also ban foreign donations to ballot question campaigns. No Ohio Democratic senators supported the measure, likely because the vote took place after the DNC announced it virtual nomination vote fix.

The bill still has to pass the Ohio House, but Democratic state lawmakers are annoyed — and were happy to let the DNC step in.

“We don’t need your fix. The DNC just released a statement several minutes ago that says we’re going to hold a virtual vote of our delegates across the country and nominate President Biden to the ballot,” State Democratic Sen. Bill DeMora said on Tuesday. “We don’t want a legislative fix that holds the voters and their rights to the whim of the majority.”

The Best Of TPM Today

Catch up on my colleague Josh Kovensky’s unmatched coverage of the Trump trial today:

Trump, DA’s Office Make Their Closing Arguments To The Jury

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

The Perplexing Geography of Abortion Opinion — TPM Cafe

What We Are Reading

At Texas GOP convention, Republicans call for spiritual warfare — Texas Tribune

Florida educators trained to teach students Christian nationalism — Popular Information

Republican member of Fulton elections board won’t certify primary results — AJC

Latest Where Things Stand

Comments are not currently available for this post.

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: