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Auditor Dave Yost Debates Challengers John Patrick Carney and Bob Bridges

Photo: Donn Nottage / City Club of Cleveland
Photo: Donn Nottage / City Club of Cleveland

Democratic State Rep. John Patrick Carney was largely on the attack against the incumbent Auditor, Republican Dave Yost.

Carney said Yost should have carried out a deeper audit of nonprofit economic development agency JobsOhio.

"Now this is your money," Carney said. "Every time you purchase liquor in the state of Ohio, it goes and supports the ability of the state to create jobs. The auditor is created under the constitution. It's the responsibility of the auditor as the chief inspector of Ohio to follow the money."

Yost was at odds with members of his own party over his efforts to audit JobsOhio, before the state legislature shielded it from that kind of scrutiny from the state auditor.

Carney said Yost should more aggressively dig into the finances of charter schools, and he said the rules governing charters should be overhauled.

Yost said Carney sounded more like he was running for a state lawmaker, where he'd be crafting policy, versus being an auditor going through state books.

"It sounds as though my distinguished opponent, who spent six years in the legislature, misunderstands the office," Yost said. "You see, we don't have a vote on the law, and the money and the rules that he's complaining about are matters for the legislature, not for the auditor."

Yost did say he though there should be changes to the law, and he pointed to charter investigations he's completed.

Libertarian Bob Bridges was largely left out of the back and forth. He said he understood the importance of making sure Ohio tax dollars are spent right because he owns a small business.

"As a matter of fact, I'm a tow truck driver," he said. "I understand what it's like to live a blue-collar lifestyle. I understand what it's like to live paycheck to paycheck."

As for other debates this election season, Republican incumbents, Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and Treasurer Josh Mandel have all declined City Club invitations. Nor has a debate between candidates for governor been announced.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.