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

Mar 19, 2017

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.