What Senate lame-duck maneuver says about Ohio GOP

By By JULIE CARR SMYTH

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — One of Ohio's most powerful Republican moderates spiked a trio of GOP-backed bills less than a month after Democratic President Barack Obama won the state for the second time.

The move by Senate President Tom Niehaus (NEE'-hows), of New Richmond, raised a question. Have Obama's two Ohio victories empowered centrists within the increasingly conservative GOP? Or did the state just witness a Hail Mary by one of Ohio's last Republican moderates?

The bills Niehaus blocked would have limited abortion, jeopardized Planned Parenthood funding and tightened voter ID rules.

The University of Akron's John Green says Niehaus' move suggests the GOP got a wake-up call in November. Tom Sutton, who teaches political science at Baldwin Wallace University, says the concept of a moderate Republican in Ohio is "rapidly disappearing."

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