CLEVELAND — Abortion and the role of the Attorney General in court cases surrounding it will be a key factor in the race for Ohio Attorney General. A battle that features incumbent Republican Dave Yost against Democrat Jeff Crossman.
On Fox News Monday Yost questioned the validity of the case of a 10-year-old rape victim having to go to Indiana for an abortion because of Ohio's abortion laws. Yost, who runs the state's crime lab, said he could find no case matching that description.
"We have regular contact with prosecutors and local police and sheriffs. Not a whisper anywhere,” Yost said. “There is no case request for analysis that looks anything like this."
News of the arrest of a suspect in the case brought cries from his opponent Crossman for an apology.
"I'm just stunned and dismayed that an Ohio Attorney General would misstate the law, misstate the facts and simply refuse to acknowledge the mistake and apologize to the people of Ohio,” Crossman told News 5.
News 5 reached out to Yost Thursday to clarify questions around the law but did not hear back. On Wednesday News 5 Investigator Scott Noll asked him about an apology.
"Apologize for what? Questioning a newspaper story?” Yost responded. “Remember on Monday night we didn't know that the girl even existed."
Yost wasn't alone, Gov. Mike DeWine and Congressman Jim Jordan also being called out for their comments on the stories validity. News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University says it's a stance that won't likely hurt them with their own supporters in November but you’ll see used in ads to motivate their opponents supporters.
"That is the kind of story that people don't forget,” said Sutton. “Regardless of the details and the circumstances it does have political fallout potential but it's about possibly raising the turnout of your opponents supporters rather than hurting the supporters that you already have."
Turnout he says being the operative word. In a midterm in Ohio it runs only about 40-to-45%.
"That leaves a lot of room for that turnout to increase and issues like this that typically see an uptick in voters. Remember that we had a 77% turnout in 2020, the highest we’ve had in decades and that was largely because it was a referendum on President Trump and his policies.
“In this case it’s really going to be among other things a referendum on two major issues and this is one of them. The issue of access to abortion services being restricted in Ohio and across the country in different states due to the Dobbs decision and of course the other issue is the economy and inflation.”