Republican State Sen. Frank LaRose running for Ohio Secretary of State

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Republican State. Sen. Frank LaRose has announced he is running for Ohio Secretary of State.

LaRose, 38, of Hudson, said in statement Wednesday he is running because he believes in “the power of free elections.”

“I believe our elected leaders must aspire to civility, find common ground and work together while still upholding their deeply held beliefs,” LaRose said. “As a principled conservative, I have endeavored to work with my colleagues on opposing sides of an issue while holding true to my core beliefs.”

The Secretary of State is responsible for overseeing Ohio’s elections and processing business filings. Current Secretary of State Jon Husted is term-limited, and is running for governor instead.

The Columbus Dispatch first reported LaRose’s long-expected candidacy Tuesday night. The story appeared just hours after Kent Democratic State Rep. Kathleen Clyde announced her own bid for Secretary of State.

LaRose’s bid sets up a Republican primary against Central Ohio State Rep. Dorothy Pelanda, who announced her candidacy for Secretary of State in March.

LaRose’s campaign announcement emphasizes his background as a decorated Green Beret in the U.S. Army Special Forces and an Iraq War veteran. His family owns the House of LaRose, a Brecksville-based beer distributor.

As a state lawmaker, LaRose has advocated for online voter registration, electronic filing of local campaign finance data and redistricting reform. He also has performed what’s known as political advance work — that is, scouting out a location in advance of a candidate’s public appearance — for Republican presidential campaigns in 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and for President Donald Trump’s inauguration this year.

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By Andrew Tobias for / Plain Dealer on May 17, 2017

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