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Ohio Republicans Push Back On Conservative Effort To End Death Penalty

Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Southern Ohio Correctional Facility in Lucasville, Ohio.

Some Republicans are pushing back against a group of fellow conservatives who want to repeal the death penalty.

Former Gov. Bob Taft, former attorney general Jim Petro and three current state representatives are among the 36 notable Republicans to join Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty. The coalition argues that the death penalty is inconsistent with pro-life views, expensive, and full of errors and inefficiencies.

Former deputy Ohio Attorney General Mark Weaver has longtime Republican connections from many campaigns, and is skeptical that the group has as much support as they’re claiming.
“I don’t know of any conservatives outside of that stripe of folks who are truly conscientious Catholics who are taking their doctrine of life all the way through the death penalty,” Weaver says. “So I’m sure there will be a group, I’m sure they’ll have a website. That’s exciting. The notion of grassroots conservatives being anti-death penalty is just not true.”

Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty is a project of Equal Justice USA, a nonpartisan group advocating for changes to the criminal justice system, including ending capital punishment.

Ohio hasn't carried out an execution since July 2018 amid difficulties obtaining lethal injection drugs.