COLUMBUS, Ohio — *EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is an interview with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose about the state's redistricting process.
State Rep. Jeffrey A. Crossman, D-Parma, has announced a bid to be Ohio's next attorney general. The first-time statewide candidate would likely face off against Attorney General Dave Yost — a Republican who has held statewide office since 2011.
Crossman is an attorney who served on the Parma City Council before running for the Ohio House. He's represented the 15th District in Northeast Ohio since 2019. Crossman says he's making the bid for statewide office to bring greater accountability to Ohio’s government.
"This is a continuation of the work I've been doing in the Statehouse demanding accountability from the folks that are responsible for the largest public corruption scandal in Ohio history, and our current attorney general has not done that," Crossman said. "And so why now? I mean, when if not now?"
Crossman highlights the ECOT virtual charter school and HB 6 energy and political bribery scandals, arguing the office attorney general's office, rather than federal authorities, should be taking the lead.
"We shouldn't have to rely on the federal government to come in here and clean up Ohio messes," Crossman argued. "The attorney general is a very powerful position. It has the ability to investigate criminal wrongdoing, and the state has concurrent jurisdiction. They have the right, and the ability and quite frankly, the responsibility to step up and investigate what’s been going on."
Crossman has been practicing law for the past 20 years. He believes his story — one of three kids raised by a single mom, growing up next to now-shuttered factories, working full time while attending law school at night — will resonate with a broad swath of voters. But he'll face an uphill battle.
After winning three statewide elections, Attorney General Yost has a significant edge in name recognition. That decade-long head start in state level politicking means Yost has a substantial campaign funding advantage, as well. As of his most recent filing in July, Yost had a bit more than $1.7 million on hand. Crossman had roughly $31,000.
Crossman, though, is staying optimistic — noting he had 50 bucks to his name when he passed the bar exam.
"That’s what I'm going to tell people, the folks that work hard every day, try to get their kids off to school and try to live the American dream in Ohio but feel like their government's holding them back," Crossman said. "And I think their government has been holding them back, by all the involvement of these greedy special interests that buying up politicians."
Crossman joins a growing ticket of Democratic candidates vying for Ohio statewide offices next year. Currently all of those offices are held by Republicans. Dayton mayor Nan Whaley and Cincinnati mayor John Cranley have announced gubernatorial bids, and Forest Park city councilwoman Chelsea Clark is running for secretary of state. Democratic Party officials expect to announce candidates for state auditor and treasurer early next year.