Democratic state Rep. Jeffrey Crossman launches Ohio AG bid

December 16, 2021 GMT

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — State Rep. Jeffrey Crossman, a Democrat who helped lead the effort to expel former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder after his federal indictment in a bribery scheme, announced his bid Thursday for state attorney general.

Crossman, 49, of Parma, pledged in a video launching his campaign to “fight like hell” to clean up corruption in Columbus, if elected Ohio’s top lawyer and law enforcer.

“We need someone in that office that’s high-integrity, someone that’s going to fight for fairness, fight for transparency, and fight for accountability for all these people that have been doing wrong in the state of Ohio,” he said in an interview.

Crossman acknowledged voting to elect Householder speaker, but said that was before the then-powerful Republican’s alleged secret activities were known. Householder has pleaded not guilty and awaits trial.

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Crossman said Republican Attorney General Dave Yost — his would-be rival next year — should have launched his own criminal investigation and issued subpoenas to powerful fellow Republicans, rather than ceding the job to the federal government.

“Dave Yost has been corruption-adjacent his entire public service career, and that’s pretty much the difference between us,” Crossman said. He said, for example, that a former Yost campaign manager, Matt Borges, is one of those accused in the Householder investigation. Borges has pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence.

A practicing attorney who grew up in Wickliffe, Crossman plans to emphasize his working-class background as the child of a single mother, grandchild of union workers who worked his way through law school at night while working full-time.

Crossman is seeking to connect with voters in a state that hasn’t elected a Democrat to statewide executive office since 2006. Yost, then the two-term state auditor, defeated Democrat Steve Dettelbach, a former U.S. Attorney, with 52% to 48% of the vote four years ago.

Crossman said he’s “used to tough challenges.”

Republican National Committee spokesman Dan Lusheck said Yost has been a national leader in fighting Democratic President Joe Biden’s government overreach and has brought suits defending consumers, fighting human traffickers and holding big tech and public officials accountable.

He said in a statement that, as a Biden delegate, Crossman “is responsible for the abhorrent policies being forced on Ohioans by this administration.”

“Ohioans can be thankful they have an attorney general who is strong on the border, rejects Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandates and holds those accountable who seek to do harm in the Buckeye State,” Lusheck said.