Statement from the Ohio Christian Alliance on the Ohio House Election of Speaker Rep. Jason Stephens

Rep. Jason Stephens was elected by more Democrats than Republicans. Thirty-two Democrats voted for Stephens for Speaker, and only twenty-two renegade Republicans voted for him in a betrayal of the Ohio House Republican Caucus December vote which elected Rep. Derek Merrin for Speaker of the Ohio House. Twenty-two Republicans who pledged their support for Derek Merrin in December changed their votes on Tuesday and voted for Jason Stephens, joining the entire Democratic caucus. Derek Merrin lost the vote by a measure of 43-54. 

The Republican Caucus was shocked by the betrayal of the twenty-two Republicans who joined the Democrats to elect Jason Stephens as speaker. This is truly now a house divided. The conservatives have been spurned once too many times, and now have been betrayed when it was their time to take leadership. What Rep. Stephens guaranteed Democrat Allison Russo, Minority Leader, and the Democrats is unknown.

What is known is that the Democrats wanted favorable districts in the map re-draw, no additional restrictions on abortion, and the tabling of the 60% threshold for a constitutional amendment, formerly known as HJR 6 in the last G.A. The reason the Democrats want to stop the 60% threshold constitutional amendment is that they want to clear the path for a fall ballot initiative constitutional amendment that will legalize abortion on demand in Ohio, taking us back to Roe v. Wade, even abolishing Ohio’s ban on partial birth abortion. Pro-life Ohioans are beginning to awaken to the real threat of a constitutional amendment on the ballot in Ohio that will be heavily funded by pro-abortion groups such as NARAL and Planned Parenthood pouring millions of dollars into campaign ads to pass a simple majority constitutional amendment that would put Ohio right back to where we were initially under Roe v. Wade.

Without question, Rep. Jason Stephens made an agreement with the Democrats to secure their thirty-two votes. To think otherwise is to be completely naive. What conservatives understand is that their agenda is now dead-on arrival. Any meaningful pro-life legislation is now dead. Educational choice legislation is now dead.  Protecting women’s sports legislation is now dead. Protecting our children from the transgender agenda in public schools is now dead.

Any meaningful pro-life, pro-family legislation is dead with this Speaker who was elected by a majority of Democrats. For all intense purposes, the Ohio House that has 67 Republicans is now ruled by a Democrat Speaker. After this unprecedented betrayal, how long will it take for a vote of no confidence to be formulated? Fifty votes are needed. Any meaningful conservative legislation would now need a discharge petition effort of fifty votes to put it directly on the floor. Without this, we are looking at two years of a raucous caucus and gridlock for the next two years.

This is not what Ohioans voted for; they did not vote to capitulate to the political left. There are some things worth fighting for, and it now appears that a fight is underway for who will govern Ohio – the political left by proxy of a compromised Speaker or the Republican majority that was elected in November.  

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