Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor says she hasn't spoken to governor in a year; Kasich says she has

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor told Clermont County Republicans last week that she hasn’t spoken to Gov. John Kasich in a year, an assertion her spokesman Michael Duchesne confirmed to this newspaper on Wednesday.

But Kasich, a fellow Republican who picked Taylor as his running mate in 2010 and 2014 and has endorsed her in her bid for governor, disputes the account.

“I’ve had some very very sensitive conversations about some very personal things that have happened in her family and I’m always there if there is something I can do to help people,” Kasich said during a meeting with reporters on Thursday.

RELATED: Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor opens up about her sons’ opioid addictions

That Taylor is attempting to distance herself from Kasich reveals the split in the party over the governor, who won re-election overwhelmingly in 2014 but has angered some Republicans over his opposition to President Donald Trump.

Taylor is running against Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and his running mate, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted in the Republican primary.

“The Lt. Governor told the folks in Clermont County, who voted to endorse her over Mike DeWine by a 2-1 margin, that she hadn’t spoken to the Governor in over a year,” Duchesne said in an email on Thursday. “And that he wasn’t active in her campaign and his political team was actively working for Mike DeWine. I have no doubt that she was in budget meetings with the Governor. That’s what governing is.

Duchesne said the endorsement Taylor “cares about most is that of the people of Ohio.”

Taylor also told Clermont County Republicans she had not seen the governor in a year and she told them, falsely, that he had not endorsed her in her race for governor, according to a story in the Cincinnati Enquirer on Thursday.

RELATED: Hamilton businessman tapped to run with Mary Taylor in governor race

She was speaking to the Clermont County Republican Party, which then voted to endorse her over DeWine/Husted on Jan. 17.

The Cincinnati Enquirer article cited public records showing that Taylor has been in meetings with Kasich over the past year, and quotes a Kasich spokesman saying that the governor had indeed talked with his lieutenant governor within the past year.

Kasich said Taylor has been a “great teammate” even when she sometimes disagreed with his decisions and he pledged to continue to support her.

“Mary has been a great, loyal partner,” Kasich said. “I know that decisions have been made that she wasn’t always comfortable with. She’d express herself and then she’d go out and support the team.”

He said that Taylor is in a statewide campaign and, “If you’ve ever been in a statewide campaign its pretty crazy. You’re busy all the time and she has been terrific and I will continue to support her and she will make an excellent governor.”

Taylor is actively courting supporters of President Donald Trump in her quest for the Republican nomination. 

Asked Thursday if he thought his endorsement would hurt or help Taylor, Kasich said, “I don’t think things have changed that much since I won 86 out of 88 counties (in the 2014 governor’s race.)”

“I have given her some suggestions as to how to be an effective candidate. She has to do her thing and I respect that.”

Ryan Stubenrauch, spokesman for the DeWine/Husted campaign, said Taylor is “obviously trying to distance herself” from Kasich. And he said her campaign’s account of what was said in the Clermont County Republican Party meeting has changed in the days since the meeting last week.

“It’s been a fun couple of days to watch the evolution of what we heard in Clermont County,” Stubenrauch said. “The story has evolved from Mary Taylor world.”

RELATED: DeWine-Husted ticket called governor’s race ‘dream team’ by GOP state senator

DeWine/Husted Campaign Manager Dave Luketic previously worked on Kasich’s campaigns for governor and president, but no one from Kasich’s current political team is working for the DeWine/Husted campaign, Stubenrauch said.

“I found the whole thing puzzling,” Stubenrauch said.

Democrats have a larger field of candidates in their primary.

RELATED: Crowded governor field puts Democratic race up for grabs

They are Richard Cordray, former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a former Ohio treasurer and attorney general; Dennis Kucinich, former U.S. congressman and former Cleveland mayor; former state representative Connie Pillich of Cincinnati; state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill.

Other stories by Lynn Hulsey

Ohio’s tobacco prevention efforts get mostly Fs

Local state House seat drawing lots of candidates for competitive district

Kucinich enters governor’s race with call to “reclaim” the state and bring back Democrats who voted for Trump

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

U.S. may put tarriffs on China, other steel-producing countries
U.S. may put tarriffs on China, other steel-producing countries

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Friday urged President Donald Trump to impose steep tariffs on China and other steel-producing countries, contending they are illegally dumping steel into U.S. markets. In a 262-page report that was praised by many Ohio lawmakers, Ross charged that imported steel products are priced “substantially lower&rdquo...
The new Hamilton fire chief has many to thank for his career, including his mother-in-law
The new Hamilton fire chief has many to thank for his career, including his mother-in-law

Some people, when they’re sworn in to a new city government position, bring a few family members with them. When new Hamilton Fire Chief Mark Mercer was sworn in on Wednesday, he brought a few … and a few more. They all gathered at the front of Hamilton City Council Chambers for the swearing-in ceremony. There was even one from New York...
Springboro to spend $200,000 on land for new park
Springboro to spend $200,000 on land for new park

The Springboro City Council authorized the city manager to pay $190,000 for 5.8 acres of residential property on Lytle-Five Points Road and shift $200,000 in city funds to pay for the land. The votes during Thursday’s council meeting came on two legislative items added to the agenda and approved on first readings. Supporters say the new park...
President Trump to visit Florida school shooting area today
President Trump to visit Florida school shooting area today

President Donald Trump says he leaves for Florida Friday to “meet with some of the bravest people.” Trump’s tweet did not elaborate on his plans. But White House officials are working to arrange a visit to Florida in the wake of this week’s deadly school shooting. Trump writes that he’ll meet with “people whose lives...
With McCain’s retreat, some look to Romney to carry traditional GOP torch
With McCain’s retreat, some look to Romney to carry traditional GOP torch

In more ways than one, followers of traditional Republican orthodoxy are facing an emotional inflection point this week.  Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., at home battling an aggressive form of brain cancer, will not attend this weekend's Munich Security Conference, an annual gathering of foreign policy leaders from NATO nations that has become a central...
More Stories