COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – In early 2020, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine was working on plans to tackle algae blooms in Lake Erie, tackle distracted driving and find a way to save an Ohio minor league baseball team.
The hugely popular first-term Republican governor accepted an invitation to deliver the keynote address at the University of Miami in May. The 2022 election was a long way off, but some Democrats were already exploring DeWine’s challenges.
Then came the first week of March, and with it a decision by DeWine that paved the way for a year of politics that today looks like something seen through the looking glass from Alice in Wonderland.
On March 3, without a single reported case of COVID-19 in the state, DeWine set strict attendance limits at the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus, an oversized gathering founded three decades ago by Arnold Schwarzenegger that typically numbers 20,000 athletes. from 80 countries to Compete in events such as professional bodybuilding and a strongman competition. Annual economic impact on the city: more over $ 50 million.
“It was really, at least for me, the start of the pandemic,” DeWine said earlier this week, adding: “It’s hard to believe it’s been a whole year.”
Nine days later, with the virus spreading rapidly elsewhere but with only five confirmed cases of the virus in Ohio, DeWine ordered schools closed for three weeks, becoming the first governor in the country to take such a step….
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