Franklin County GOP to vote on rescinding prosecutor candidate John Rutan’s endorsement

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The Franklin County Republican Party on Thursday will consider rescinding its endorsement of John Rutan, who ran unopposed in the GOP primary for county prosecutor.

This comes after Rutan, a defense attorney from Grove City, made statements to The Dispatch after the March primary about county elections being “stolen” and made multiple assertions without solicitation about the 9/11 attacks, elites, former President Donald Trump—wwho Rutan said is a member of the elite—aand other topics.

“We are reconsidering and re-voting on the endorsement based on John Rutan’s statements to The Dispatch,” said Meredith Freedhoff, chair of the Franklin County Republican Party Executive Committee, in a statement. “He chose to put his personal agenda in front of the priorities of the office of Franklin County Prosecutor.”

The party’s screening committee that initially recommended Rutan has put forth a motion rescinding their recommendation, according to Lisa Chaffee, acting secretary for the county party.

The Franklin County Republican Party Central Committee will consider Rutan’s endorsement at its meeting Thursday at the Sheraton Hotel downtown, according to a meeting notice.

Rutan told The Dispatch Friday in an email, “Money and media can control some people, but only God controls me.”

He said the party is reconsidering his endorsement not because of his abilities, ideas, experience,or moral compass but because The Dispatch did not publish his statements made after the primary (two lengthy emails) in their entirety.

Rutan also said, “I had an honest opinion that I did not expect to be published.”

“I would encourage all voters to look at the person, not the party,” Rutan said, referring voters to his website.

In the November general election, Rutan will face Democratic nominee Shayla Favor, a Columbus city councilmember.

Franklin County has become a place where it’s difficult for Republicans to win countywide office, as evidenced by several county judges and judicial candidates switching parties from GOP to Democrat in recent years. Rutan is one of just two Republicans running for a countywide office this year, despite several Franklin County offices on the ballot, including commissioner seats, treasurer seats, sheriff seats, and multiple judgeships.

What Rutan has said in the past:‘This is not Starbucks. You got to have skill,’ Rutan says of hiring Black attorneys

Unopposed on the Republican ballot in March, Rutan received 37,246 votes. Franklin County voters cast 64,130 ballots in the Republican primary so 58% of them voted for Rutan.

Rutan has never been elected to public office before. He previously ran for the Ohio House of Representatives in 2020 and lost in the primary.