Hearing Nathan Estruth talk, it’s easy to imagine how he rose to the top ranks of a big corporation and why Republican candidate for governor Mary Taylor wanted him as her running mate and candidate for lieutenant governor.
He came and spoke to editors at The Blade a month ago and then to a group in Oregon last Friday night. About 35 people joined with the Oregon Republican Club to hear him and Mike Gibbons, one of the candidates for Ohio’s U.S. Senate seat, talk.
While at The Blade, he let Ms. Taylor lead the discussion.
In Oregon, working with a microphone that sometimes worked and sometimes didn’t, he spoke for half an hour without notes and without stumbling at all.
Mr. Estruth has left behind a highly successful business career with Procter & Gamble, where he was the CEO of a P&G injection molding subsidiary. Now he’s touring the state separately from Ms. Taylor, and he brings a rookie’s enthusiasm and freshness to the job.
He sounds like somebody who knows his material. He’s also a good talker. Mr. Estruth’s resume lists previous speaking engagements, which includes being a keynote speaker at the 2010 World Health Care Congress.
The case Mr. Estruth and Ms. Taylor are making as they roam the state in search of support is that she’s the true conservative, an accountant who will guard the taxpayer’s money “because it’s the taxpayers’ money, not the government’s money,” and her opponent, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, is “no conservative.”
Mr. Estruth took his listeners back to the mid-2000s when Mr. DeWine was the Republican U.S. Senator from Ohio, helping them recall why he was voted out of office.
“He not only lost the Ohio Senate seat and gave it to [now Democratic U.S. Sen.] Sherrod Brown, in that one vote he also handed the U.S. Senate to Harry Reid. Why was that? It was because of his liberal record in the U.S. Senate,” Mr. Estruth said.
He said he reminded Mr. DeWine of some of his old votes recently.
“Mike DeWine said in Butler County, ‘I’ve cast tens of thousands of votes, I can’t remember them all.’ He’s forgotten a few of those — conveniently,” Mr. Estruth said.
In 2006, Mr. DeWine was reviled on conservative talk shows as a RINO (Republican In Name Only), and as a member of the “Gang of 14” who voted for amnesty and had an F grade from the National Rifle Association.
As folksy as he is, Mr. DeWine hasn’t spent the last eight years as Ohio attorney general just giving away copies of his wife, Fran’s, cookbook. He also been re-establishing his conservative creds. That included filing amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court against the Affordable Care Act and other liberal initiatives.
Clearly Mr. DeWine has made up with the gun lobby because this week he picked up the endorsement of the Buckeye Firearms Association, which calls itself “Ohio’s largest and most active group working to defend and advance the right to keep and bear arms.”
Mr. Estruth equates Gov. John Kasich with Mr. DeWine, saying a DeWine administration would be “like John Kasich 2.0.”
According to Mr. Estruth, Ms. Taylor fought against Mr. Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid, which helped more than 700,00 Ohioans gain health insurance under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
“She started to be excluded from the governor’s inner circle from that time forward,” Mr. Estruth said.
The Taylor-Estruth case is that Mr. Kasich has left the conservative path and that Mr. DeWine will do the same thing.
Mr. Estruth comes immediately from the business world. But he’s been an activist in conservative Christian organizations and has actual political experience. He has a political science degree from UCLA, and worked as an intern on Capitol Hill, in the Ronald Reagan White House, and in several other political offices before beginning his business career.
Mr. Estruth seems to be trying to get off the sidelines and back into the game. His tryout on the Mary Taylor team so far is an impressive one.
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