ORLANDO, Fla. — Rep. Warren Davidson said on Saturday that he is considering running for either Ohio governor or U.S. senator from Ohio in 2022, as he harshly criticized incumbent Republican Gov. Mike DeWine, who is eligible to run for reelection next year.
Davidson, R-Ohio, is one of the more vocal members of the pro-Trump wing of the House GOP. He has criticized Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., for her vote to impeach former President Donald Trump, and he has been a vocal critic of DeWine’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have considered the Ohio Senate, you know, senator for the state of Ohio. I was surprised that Senator Portman wasn’t running. And, look, it’s flattering to have my name come up in that race and frankly, in the governor’s race,” Davidson said in an interview with Fox News during the 2021 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). “So we’re taking a hard look at our options.”
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Davidson then criticized DeWine, who among Republican governors has been one of the more willing to impose pandemic-related restrictions.
“Gov. DeWine’s approach has been overbearing,” Davidson said of the governor’s handling of the pandemic. “It has caused more harm than it needed to, a lot of collateral damage. And I wish he had taken more cues from Gov. DeSantis [of Florida].”
DeWine’s office declined to comment.
Davidson also spoke more generally about the upcoming 2022 Senate race in Georgia, warning that the race might not necessarily be a gimme for Republicans despite the fact Trump won the state handily in the past two presidential elections.
“I think, you know, as Donald Trump shows, there’s going to be a lot of energy,” Davidson said. “But I think the caution for Republicans — look at Georgia. If you run somebody that doesn’t resonate with the core part of the party, they’re not going to be energized. They’re going to show up and it’s going to be hard to win.”
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“The idea that you’re going to marginalize the coalition that has created our majorities, that implemented the policies that people liked, and they’re still going to show up and deliver votes, I think George is a cautionary tale,” Davidson said. “So… how we go about putting that coalition together, keeping everyone engaged… is going to make the difference.”
Davidson further said that Republicans need to “pick a side” of the internal divide, as he discussed how House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have handled the controversy around Trump since Jan. 6.
McConnell has harshly criticized Trump as McCarthy aimed to mend fences with the former president. But McCarthy also backed Cheney amid a failed effort to remove Cheney from her spot as the House GOP conference chair.
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“I think to some extent they both tried to triangulate, right, to do something to appease a little bit of everybody. And they got some pretty clear feedback,” Davidson said. “These aren’t issues you can triangulate on. You’ve got to pick a side. And clearly, the majority of our party is with the ‘America first’ coalition that has made our party bigger, broader, more diverse. And that’s where the energy is. But it’s also where the ideas are, the ideas of the future.”
“Liz Cheney is one that wants to go back to the neoconservative Bush-Cheney policies of endless wars and, you know, stagnant growth,” Davidson continued. “That isn’t going to resonate with… the Republican Party anymore… I think when we win back the house, it’ll be in spite of keeping Liz Cheney as our conference chair rather than because of keeping Liz Cheney.”
Cheney has repeatedly emphasized that she does not think Trump should play a role in the future of the Republican Party after the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.
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“The President of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack,” she said in a statement when she announced that she would vote to impeach Trump. “Everything that followed was his doing. None of this would have happened without the President. The President could have immediately and forcefully intervened to stop the violence. He did not. There has never been a greater betrayal by a President of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”
CPAC wraps up on Sunday when Trump will deliver the keynote speech. He’s expected to attack President Biden on immigration, Keystone XL and Big Tech, a source close to the former president said. He’s also expected to walk “right up to the line of announcing another campaign,” without actually committing.
Fox Nation is a sponsor of CPAC.
Fox News’ John Roberts contributed to this report.
Tyler Olson covers politics for FoxNews.com. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter at @TylerOlson1791.