Why is Ohio Secretary of State LaRose trolling Twitter on election fraud, the media, and inflation?

March 8, 2022 3:20 am

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. Screenshot from The Ohio Channel.

Curiouser and curiouser. What’s up with Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose blasting polarizing snark on Twitter? Just asking, as Tucker Carlson likes to say with queries dripping in fascism, e.g., what did (mass killer) Putin ever do to you? Certainly, the partisan tweets by the state’s top election officer — whose job is to impartially administer statewide elections — have piqued curiosity about LaRose’s aberrant dive into media-slamming, Democrats-blaming, voter-fraud affirming twittering.

Last month I wrote a column commending the guy for a job well done after he sent out a press release underscoring the rarity of even potential voter fraud cases in an overwhelmingly secure 2020 general election. Ohio’s election system worked. It safely processed a record turnout of more than 5.9 million registered voters and diligently accounted for even an infinitesimal 27 sketchy ballots. That’s a helluva record. I said LaRose, in collaboration with local county boards of elections and thousands of dedicated poll workers, deserved credit. Because he did.

So, enquiring minds want to know why LaRose — after tooting his own horn about how hard it is to cheat in Ohio’s elections — bizarrely lashed out at the media for reporting on the state’s success. Without evidence, the Republican suggested on Twitter that news accounts of Ohio’s miniscule number of potential fraud cases were sinister attempts by the media “to minimize voter fraud to suit their narrative.” But it was LaRose’s own narrative that boasted about “exceedingly rare” election fraud in Ohio with a tiny percentage of potentially illegal votes. 

Yet he ripped into one published story, which reported on the press information from LaRose’s office. He weirdly accused The Hill of using his press release to “falsely claim `there’s nothing to see here — move along.’ WRONG!” He tweeted a screen shot of the article under his tirade but here’s the actual link to read for yourself. The piece never makes any such claim and the facts it included from LaRose’s press release are RIGHT.

LaRose piled on in subsequent tweets, inferring that Trump was correct about voter fraud being a serious problem — it is not, statistically speaking, as evidenced by Ohio’s record and the clean elections documented throughout the country. But the state elections chief who once criticized Trump for spreading election misinformation in 2020, “if you have the largest megaphone in the world, you should think very carefully before you say something that would cause people to lose faith in elections,” is now doing it himself.  

LaRose’s baseless tweet that election fraud is “an even bigger problem in other states where laws and leaders are weak,” undermines a voting system whose integrity he has always affirmed. He defiantly promised “more (dirt) to come” after reinforcing Trump’s false depiction of election fraud. What gives, Secretary? Are you trying to out radical your pro-Trump election denier challenger in the Republican primary? 

Did you get some blowback from the red hat crowd after touting stellar election results that run counter to MAGA’s rigged election dogma? Have you (clumsily) changed the message you’ve long maintained about the election process being above reproach and embraced the Republican ruse about widespread voting fraud — which didn’t happen here or anywhere? When you said that Trump was right about voter fraud were you thinking about him trying to fraudulently flip an election outcome in Georgia by strong-arming its secretary of state?

Did you base your assertion that voter fraud is an even bigger problem in other states on credible Republican sources like the Trump Dream Team of Sidney “Kraken” Powell and Rudy “I’m Melting” Giuliani? How much further to the right do you expect to go to win against a Republican rival who won’t acknowledge Joe Biden’s 2020 victory? Are you prepared to go full on Marjorie Taylor Green/Paul Gosar extreme?

Just asking questions like you know who.

Another odd tweet of yours, again accompanied by a screen shot of a news article, initially stumped enquiring minds. But then it became clear that the CBS News report, on how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could worsen everyday costs in the U.S., was collectively targeted for right-wing ridicule on Twitter. Funny, your tweet looked a lot like the others accusing the media and Democrats of using the Ukraine crisis as a “coverup” for “terrible economic policy.”  

You sneered about “the lengths liberal media will go” to “distract from the failures of Democrats” and tagged your tweet with #Bideninflation. Never mind that the crisis has rattled markets for months or that scores of economists expect the Russia-Ukraine conflict to trigger higher global inflation, warn that food and gasoline will probably to cost more (been to the pump lately?) and that supply chain issues could intensify. 

Yet you chose to treat a hard reality for all Americans not as a serious pocketbook concern but partisan sport. Are you taking notes on caustic mockery from Ohio’s GOP U.S. Senate candidates? Have you glibly castigated President Biden, in conformance with MAGA panderers, to get national kudos from the right or a guest slot on Fox News? Just asking.

One more question for Ohio’s general election voters, many of whom were dismayed by your curiouser and curiouser tweets of right-wing rhetoric that bowed to election misinformation and dismissed supply and demand economics as spin.

 “When did you stop believing in truth and facts, Frank LaRose?” Now you’re ready for Tucker Carlson.



Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.

Marilou Johanek
Marilou Johanek

Marilou Johanek is a veteran Ohio print and broadcast journalist who has covered state and national politics as a longtime newspaper editorial writer and columnist.