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Ohio GOP Stalwart Frank LaRose

Meet Frank LaRose—August 13, 2023

Akron, OH native Frank LaRose grew up in Copley Township in Summit County, OH. LaRose’s grandfather started the House of LaRose, a beverage bottling and distribution company in Akron where Frank worked while growing up. He, additionally, worked on his family’s farm (Wang, After graduating high school, LaRose served in the 101st Airborne Division and later became a Green Beret in the U.S. Special Forces. For his service in Iraq, he received a Bronze Star (, 1/02/14). He claimed that his military service played a significant role in giving him a strong belief in protecting election integrity and voters’ rights. He observed the Iraqi elections in which voters had their finger dyed purple to prevent voter fraud (, Keren, 11/07/18,, 4/230/14). LaRose graduated from Ohio State University with a BS in consumer affairs and a minor in business administration (, 1/02/14).

In 2010, LaRose ran for the OH State Senate and defeated the Democratic nominee in the 27th Senate District (SD), a “Blue-leaning” district by 13 points, 56.5%-43.5% (Armon, “Akron Beacon Journal,” 11/07/10). During his first term in the Buckeye Senate, (2011-2013), LaRose voted for Senate Bill 5, (SB5) an anti-union bill, that reduced collective bargaining rights for public workers, including police, firefighters, and teachers (Warsmith, After this bill passed by a narrow margin, it was repealed by the voters via a public referendum. In 2018, the year he ran for OH Secretary of State, LaRose stated, “As I look back on my yes vote on SB5, I am not necessarily confident that I did the right thing (” Translation: LaRose was having a “campaign conversion” while running for Sec. of State. In order to get the votes of union households, he “claimed” in a mealy-mouthed way that he should have been pro-labor. Rose also voted for the OH’s Congressional Redistricting Plan, House Bill (HB) 369, that is now being legally challenged for gerrymandering (, 8/17/18). In 2011, Rose voted for Senate Bill SB 72, a “late term abortion ban,” which affects 1% of abortions and had no exception for the mother’s health. This bill was later introduced as House Bill (HB) 178 which made an exception for the woman’s health ( Frankly, we should not at all be surprised by LaRose’s pushing the Issue 1 ballot initiative in order to keep abortion rights from being codified in OH. From the get-go, LaRose has shown his hostility to women having the right to decide whether to have an abortion.

LaRose won re-election with 67.7% of the vote. After his re-election, LaRose showed that he stood against expanding voter rights, an issue that would help Democrats and their allies, lower class people and voters of color win elections. He sponsored a bill (SB38) to eliminate six days of early voting and to prohibit county Board of Elections from sending out unsolicited absentee voting applications. He voted to keep counties from prepaying postage on absentee ballots (Pepper, D., “Laboratories of Autocracy,”2021). In 2016, La Rose further voted for SB296 which would require a monetary payment in order to extend voting hours at any vote center for any reason (, Borchardt, 2/20/14, Balmert,, 5/24/16).

LaRose, as previously noted, was no pro-choice advocate. In 2015, he voted for SB127, a 20-week abortion ban and co-sponsored HB (House Bill) 294, which prohibited public funds for abortion services. In 2016, LaRose sponsored House Bill (HB) 493, a bill banning abortion when a fetal heartbeat was detected, even though courts had blocked similar bills in several other states (, Heisig, 12/08/16). In 2017, Rose voted for SB 28 which would have required the burial or cremation of fetal remains, identical to a similar bill that had been blocked in Texas. Later that year, he sponsored legislation to prevent women from having abortions after a fetal diagnosis of Down Syndrome (Grossman, 1/31/17, “Justia,”, Borchardt, 11/15/17).

Continuing with his anti-voting rights obsession, LaRose helped pass a bill that removed a five-day time period where a voter was permitted to vote and cast a ballot at the same time in order to prevent the “possibility” of “voter fraud,” a non-existent issue, except among GOPers (See Yes, LaRose helped pass convenient on-line voter registration and allowed campaign finance reports to be filed electronically (Shoemaker,,, but his real agenda was voter rights suppression.

In 2018, LaRose ran for OH Secretary of State, a position which would put him in charge of elections and their supervision. During the campaign, LaRose stated he would continue enforcing the voter list maintenance state law, knowing as “purging.” Under OH’s “purging” system, voters were removed from the registration rolls and were unable to vote in future elections if they had not voted for six consecutive years, a high burden for many voters who don’t vote in every election year after year. This “purging” system would heavily affect lower middle- class voters, Democrats, and people of color (See His Democratic opponent promised to end this “purging.” In the end, in lately “Red”-leaning OH, La Rose defeated his Democratic rival, Democratic State Representative Kathleen Clyde by a 4.2% margin, 50.9%-46.7 % (, 2018).

As OH’s 51st Secretary of State, LaRose engaged in this “purging process.” In 2019, LaRose publicly shared a list of 235,000 voters slated to be removed in a few months. Voting rights advocates, journalists, and OH Democratic legislators pored over the list and discovered that tens of thousands of voters were erroneously on the list of voters to be “purged.” Thousands of these to be “purged” voters had voted since 2015 and 2018 and were, therefore, not inactive. Others were on the list because of staff errors. In fact, the executive director of OH’s League of Women Voters, a person leading the effort to scrutinize the list of voters to be “purged” even found herself on that list, although she had voted three times in the previous year! In total, 20% of the 235,000 voters on LaRose’s to be “purged” list were erroneously listed, and half of these voters came from the Democratic stronghold of Franklin County, home of the state capital Columbus (Pepper, “Laboratories Of Autocracy”, 2021). We do not know if LaRose went back to see how many more voters had been “purged” under prior GOP Governors. Although LaRose removed the 40,000 names erroneously on the “purge” list and admitted that the process was full of flaws, he moved forward with the “purge.” A few weeks later, more voters were found to have been erroneously “purged (Pepper, “Laboratories Of Autocracy”).” And anyone who thinks that these “purges” would not affect most elections and certainly close OH ones should purchase that famous bridge in Kings County, NY. LaRose additionally defended OH’s badly gerrymandered districts that were redrawn to keep “Team Red” in power (wiki). In 2022, LaRose, despite these voter suppression actions, was easily re-elected as Sec. of State by 20.1 percentage points, 59.5%- 39.4% (, 11/11/22). LaRose endorsed Demagogue Donald in his 2024 campaign for re-election (

As Secretary of State, LaRose has broken with decades-old OH precedent by actively campaigning for passage of the anti-democracy Issue 1. Secretaries of State in OH are traditionally non-aligned arbiters of fair and impartial elections. However, LaRose could care less, since passage of Issue 1 could, in his words, “prevent a radical abortion amendment in the fall.” In 2022, LaRose led the effort to eliminate August elections. However, once Buckeye State GOP legislators pushed Issue 1 to, in effect, keep abortion rights and other progressive measures from passing, Sec. of State La Rose was on board and then some for the August Issue 1 vote (Kasler, 3/29/23, WOUB Statehouse New Bureau, Trau, 7/17/23, News 5 Cleveland). Translation: LaRose is for democracy only when his side can “fix” the issues or win the votes, not when his gang loses.

In 7/2023, LaRose announced he was running for the U.S. Senate to take on progressive Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown who is running for his fourth term in 2024. LaRose is, according to some polling, leading his two GOP primary challengers ( 6/07/23). Currently, Sen. Brown narrowly leads all his GOP opponents, but in “Red”-leaning OH, this poll at this moment, eons away from 11/2024, means little. Any of these GOP candidates will be well-funded against Brown and this race will be a close one. Whether Democrats keep the Senate may hinge on this race.

What does the defeat of Issue I mean? For starters, it shows that even in “Red”-trending OH, a well-known GOP leader can lose “bigly” when abortion rights are at stake. And once again, turnout is EVERYTHING. In this “dog day” August 8, 2023 race, more than 3 million votes were cast. Nearly 700,000 Ohioans voted early, either in -person or by mail. That total surpassed the number of early votes cast in the 5/2022 Buckeye primary (, Quinn, M., 8/09/23). After the Supreme Ct. overturned “Roe v. Wade” in 6/2022, a backlash against this ruling resulted. The Democrats barely lost the House in 2022 and expanded their narrow Senate margin. In states where the abortion issue was on the ballot, since the Supreme Ct. anti-“Roe” decision, anti-choice forces lost in Arizona, Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and now, Ohio. All of these are a group of swing states that Dem. Senators and President Biden need for victory in 2024 (, Brownstein, 8/08/23). Even super-“Red” KY, Mitch McConnell’s home state, voted for abortion rights. Ultra-“Red” Kansas voters overwhelmingly defeated an anti-abortion measure by 18 points. In “Red” Montana, Dem. Senator Jon Tester faces a tough Senate race in 2024. However, in 2022, these Rocky Mountain voters defeated an anti-abortion measure (See, Goldberg, M., 8/04/23). Democrats like OH Senator Brown must hammer LaRose or any other GOP nominee as anti-choice and pro-Issue 1. Any consultant or analyst who tells you that the American people don’t care about the repeal of abortion rights by the Supreme Ct. is absolutely wrong. In 2024, Pres. Biden, Sens. Brown, Tester and Democrats running for the House and Senate just about anywhere in the country must learn the lesson from Issue 1’s defeat and campaign hard on it-- abortion rights matter and the GOP is on the wrong side of this vital issue.

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