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Published: Friday, 7/24/2009

DeWine wants next job to be in Columbus


Former two-term U.S. Senator Mike DeWine visited downtown Toledo yesterday afternoon and shared conclusions of his recent soul searching.

"I've looked around and tried to think, 'In the next few years of my life, what do I want to do? Where can I really have an impact?'•" said Mr. DeWine of Cedarville.

The answer is no longer Washington for the 62-year-old Republican, who lost his Senate seat to Democrat Sherrod Brown in the 2006 election.

This next chapter would pick up in Columbus with the 2010 race for state attorney general.

"I came to the conclusion that the attorney general's office is where I can have the most impact," Mr. DeWine said.

Before his 12 years in the U.S. Senate, Mr. DeWine was the Greene County prosecutor and a state senator and served as Gov. George Voinovich's lieutenant governor.

Does returning to state politics feel anticlimactic? Not at all, he said.

"Attorney general is something that I really, really want to do. Something that I can walk in the door on Day One and have an agenda," Mr. DeWine said.

Mr. DeWine and his wife, Fran, were in Toledo yesterday for the second day of his campaign's rollout tour across the state.

The campaign kicked off Wednesday in the same Greene County courtroom where he was sworn in as prosecutor nearly 33 years ago.

He plans to challenge Attorney General Richard Cordray, a Democrat, in November, 2010, but first must face Delaware County Prosecutor Dave Yost in a primary contest.

Mr. DeWine dismissed a notion that he's ultimately eyeing the governor's office.

"If I had wanted to run for governor, I'd be running for governor," he said. "I am prepared as well as anyone is prepared to be the next attorney general of the state of Ohio."

Following lunch with friends and fellow Republicans at Packo's at the Park restaurant on Superior Street, Mr. DeWine spoke with reporters about how, if elected, he would work "hand-in-glove" with local law enforcement, and work to improve efficiency at the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.

He also pledged to carry out his duties in a nonpartisan manner.

"If I see a problem from a Republican officeholder, I'm going to call him on it. If I see it from a Democratic officeholder, I will call them on it as well," he said.

Since leaving the senate, Mr. DeWine said he has enjoyed time with family and teaching government courses at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, at Northern University, and Cedarville University.

He also was the Ohio chairman for Sen. John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign.

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