WASHINGTON -- Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee encouraged supporters of an anti-union ballot measure in Ohio to stop its opponents from voting, jokingly urging the crowd to let the air out of tires and intentionally give out a wrong election date.
As reported by MasonBuzz, the 2008 presidential candidate spoke to a crowd of about 350 Issue 2 supporters at a pancake breakfast and rally in Mason, Ohio on Friday. Huckabee expressed his support for the referendum, and outlined what supporters could do to ensure the measure's passage in next month's general election.
"Make a list," said Huckabee, referring to supporters' family and friends. "Call them and ask them, 'Are you going to vote on Issue 2 and are you going to vote for it?' If they say no, well, you just make sure that they don't go vote. Let the air out of their tires on election day. Tell them the election has been moved to a different date. That's up to you how you creatively get the job done."
The crowd laughed at Huckabee's remarks. In 2009, he made a similar joke in Virginia, saying, "Let the air our of their tires ... keep 'em home. Do the Lord's work."
Issue 2 is a ballot referendum on Senate Bill 5, which limits collective bargaining for Ohio's public employees. The measure has been heavily opposed by pro-labor groups like We Are Ohio, which emphasize that the bill would inhibit workers' rights. Voters will decide on the ballot initiative next month.
"These comments reflect an entire campaign of deceit from Issue 2 supporters. They are willing to go to any extremes to keep Ohioans from letting their voices be heard," said We Are Ohio spokeswoman Melissa Fazekas. "Enough is enough."
The event where Huckabee spoke was hosted by the Warren County Republican Party and Building a Better Ohio, a pro-Issue 2 group that recently came under fire for using footage of an Ohio woman who opposes the legislation in one of their ads.
Huckabee's representatives and Building a Better Ohio did not return requests for comment on Monday.