Trump urges challenge to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine after he called Biden winner

President Trump on Monday encouraged a re-election challenge to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine after the fellow Republican said Trump should begin handing over the reins to President-elect Joe Biden.

“Who will be running for Governor of the Great State of Ohio? Will be hotly contested!” Trump tweeted, shortly after writing, “I won the Election!”

DeWine, a former senator who worked for 12 years alongside Biden in Congress, was elected to a four-year term as governor in 2018 and won’t face voters again until 2022.

On Sunday, DeWine said in a CNN interview that Trump must begin the formal transition process before Biden takes office on Jan. 20.

“It’s clear, that certainly based on what we know now, that Joe Biden is the president-elect and that transition for the country’s sake, it’s important for a normal transition to start through,” DeWine said.

“The president could go on his other track, his legal track, we should respect that, but we also need to begin that process.”

DeWine also said, “I was certainly a supporter of and remain a supporter of the president, but the president has every right to go into court, every right to bring any kind of evidence that he has and no one should begrudge him that or say that there’s anything irregular about that.”

Trump is expected to remain a powerful Republican Party figure after leaving office. He won Ohio by more than 8 percentage points.

Another Republican governor, Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, on Sunday encouraged Trump to accept defeat after narrow losses in swing states including Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania. Trump’s campaign insists those losses could be reversed with recounts and legal challenges.

Hutchinson, who cannot run again in 2022 due to a two-term limit, told NBC News, “I expect Joe Biden to be the next president of the United States [and] it is very important that [he] has access to the intelligence briefings to make sure that he is prepared. During times of transition, our enemies have an opportunity to take advantage of us, and we want to make sure that there is a smooth transition.”

Trump carried Arkansas by 28 points and his former White House press secretary Sarah Sanders is considered a possible successor to Hutchinson.

Several Republican governors who lead Democrat-leaning states also called on Trump to admit defeat.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who didn’t vote for either presidential candidate, said, “I can’t think of a worse time to stall a transition than amid a deadly pandemic.” Vermont Gov. Phil Scott, re-elected with nearly 70 percent support after backing Biden, said “we are counting on President Trump and his administration to honor the will of the people.” Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, who wrote in Ronald Reagan rather than vote for Trump, said, “Whether you like it or not, it’s time to get behind the winner of the race.”

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