The political action committee for the Ohio Tea Party movement’s leading organization endorsed Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor for the GOP nomination for governor of Ohio on Tuesday, a sign that her campaign is picking up momentum.
Five days before the election next Tuesday, May 8, the big question for the 52-year-old Taylor is whether that momentum will be sufficient to close the shrinking gap in the polls that separates her from the front-runner and GOP establishment favorite, 71-year-old State Attorney General Mike DeWine.
The endorsement from the Ohio Citizens PAC comes just two weeks after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) endorsed Taylor, about the same time an internal poll showed Taylor trailing DeWine by only ten points.
“Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s campaign has released an internal poll that claims she is only 10 points behind Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine in the Republican ace [sic] to be the state’s top executive,” the Journal-News reported on April 17, adding:
Past polls show DeWine, and his running mate, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, had leads ranging between 25 and 30 points since January, and a spokesman for his campaign says that’s still the case.
The one-day survey paid for by the Taylor campaign questioned 1,064 likely Republican voters in the May 8 primary election. It shows DeWine ahead of Taylor 42 percent to 32 percent, and with 26 percent of likely voters still undecided, according to the Taylor campaign.
That internal Taylor campaign poll was conducted before a Breitbart News report on Tuesday that DeWine “agreed to attend a 2006 fundraiser with members of a local mosque that was tightly tied to a militant Egypt-born Islamic cleric.”
The heightened level of support for Taylor from the state’s leading grassroots organization announced on Tuesday is expected to tighten the race between Taylor and DeWine even further.
“Tom Zawistowski, President of the Ohio Citizens PAC, the main state PAC for the Ohio TEA Party Movement, announced today that the organization is endorsing the Taylor/Estruth ticket in the Ohio Governor’s race,” the group said in a statement released on Tuesday.
“Elections have consequences and the Ohio TEA Party Movement must always act to advance our conservative agenda – which includes both fiscal and social issues,” Zawistowski said in the statement, adding:
It is clear to our organization, and the majority of TEA Party/Liberty Group activists and leaders in Ohio, that the promises being publicly made by the Taylor/Estruth ticket to end Medicaid Expansion, reduce taxes and regulations, restore local control to our school districts, promote and invest in education and job training in the trades, defend our 2nd Amendment rights, protect life and religious freedom, defund Planned Parenthood, put Ohio citizens first at all times by ending special privileges for illegal immigrants – all closely fit with our agenda.
It is our sincere hope that, if elected, Taylor and Estruth will follow President Trump’s example and keep their promises to those who voted to elect them. Therefore our organization, with this endorsement, encourages all conservatives in Ohio to turn out for the Republican Primary on May 8th and vote to elect Mary Taylor for Governor and Nathan Estruth for Lieutenant Governor as the Republican candidates in the general election.
“This endorsement is being made primarily based upon the preferences of our activists and leaders around the state. While many are profoundly disappointed in the results of the primary process,” Zawistowski said, “where the number of choices for Governor were reduced from four to two, given the limited choices available, our people have broken heavily toward Taylor/Estruth as their best option.”
A Survey USA Poll conducted in March showed DeWine leads potential Democrat nominee for governor and former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray by eight points, 47 percent to 39 percent. That same poll showed DeWine leading former Cleveland mayor and Congressman Dennis Kucinich by 13 points, 51 percent to 38 percent.
No public polling has been released that shows how Taylor matches up in a hypothetical general election race with either Cordray or Kucinich.