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State Rep. Retherford Says Drunk Driving and Weapons Charges Won't Force Him to Step Down

Wes Retherford
State Rep. Wes Retherford of Hamilton (pictured) says he will miss house sessions due to the charges.

Republican Rep. Wes Retherford of Hamilton is resisting calls to resign after being arrested on drunk driving and weapons charges.

He's far from the first elected official in Ohio who's run into trouble with the law. But in Ohio, criminal charges don’t always seal a politician’s fate.

Wes Retherford won his seat last year by 30 points. David Cohen at the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron says a state legislator could come back from legal trouble because Statehouse seats were deliberately created to be safe.

“Depending upon the types of charges a person is looking at, if it’s not too “serious," oftentimes these legislators can actually survive.”

But that’s not always the case.

Republican Reps. Steve Kraus and Pete Beck were convicted of theft and investment fraud. And Democratic Reps. Carlton Weddington and Clayton Luckie were locked up on corruption charges. However, former Democratic state Sen. Jeff Johnson, who went to prison for extortion in the '90s, is now a Cleveland city councilman running for mayor.

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.