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'The View' grills DeWine about postponing primary

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Posted at 1:23 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-17 13:23:27-04

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine defended his decision to postpone the state’s March 17 primary in a Tuesday morning appearance on “The View,” arguing again that the rationale behind the move had been to protect voters and poll workers endangered by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We took this action, just like the other actions we’ve taken, to bring separation,” he told co-host Sunny Hostin. “We’re listening to the experts, and we’re going to have — just like every other state — a hospital capacity problem, and we have to spread this spread down a little bit.”

When Hostin brought up the potential impact of a Republican governor’s action on the Demcratic primary, DeWine dismissed the idea that the rescheduling had been motivated by partisanship.

“This is not about politics,” he said. “This is about Ohio citizens’ lives.”

DeWine repeated much of what he said Monday when announcing he would postpone the election until June 2: That he had personally received texts from immunocompromised people torn between voting and protection their health, that many of the state’s 35,000 poll workers are older and therefore at most risk of COVID-19 complications, and that holding a primary election while obeying CDC guidelines prohibiting large public gatherings would be impossible.

His initial attempt to stop the primary with a lawsuit had been rejected by Franklin County Judge Richard A. Frye, leading to confusion late Monday night. However, Ohio Department of Health director Amy Acton was able sidestep Frye’s ruling by declaring a public health emergency and ordering the primary postponed.

“That kind of bringing people together made no sense,” he told co-host Meghan McCain. “It’s the same reason this weekend I closed all the bars. We were seeing pictures of people showing up in bars Saturday night all crowded together, and we know what that does.”

DeWine said the state would continue to distribute and accept absentee ballots between Tuesday and the new primary date.

“Democracy will continue, but what we want to make sure is that people are here for the next St. Patrick’s Day, and we hope to have a much more normal time,” he said.

When co-host Sara Haines asked how he would evaluate the Trump administration’s response to the pandemic, he said the federal government had acted quickly to ensure the state had the waivers it needed to continue feeding school children during the pandemic.

DeWine declined to recommend all governors take the same measures he had.

“I think each one of us is seeing this progress at a different rate, just as we have different countries in Europe that have seen it progress at a different rate,” he said. “I think this is up to us, but again, I’m going to rely on doctors and what the best medical advice is, and that advice is changing every day as we know new facts. We’re going to do what the experts tell us.”