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GOP Governors Fight Virus Mandates as the Party’s Covid-19 Politics Harden

Then there is Ms. Noem, who last month accused other Republican governors of pretending they didnt shut down their states, that they didnt close their regions, that they didnt mandate masks. The remarks were widely interpreted to be aimed at potential 2024 rivals.
Mr. Cruz, who ran for president in 2016 and could again in 2024, predicted a reckoning for politicians, including Republicans, who had embraced pandemic edicts. Theres a range of politicians in terms of how long they shut things down, he said. In my view, the shorter the better. But that will certainly be a legitimate topic for discussion and debate.
Mr. Ayres, the Republican pollster, said that governors trying to control the virus policies of schools, employers and local officials were breaking with years of tradition on free enterprise and local control.
Liberty has never meant the freedom to threaten the health of others, Mr. Ayres said. That is a perversion of the definition of liberty and freedom.
Some governors who imposed mandates and lockdowns last year have even been targeted by state legislators who want to trim their powers.
In Ohio, the G.O.P.-controlled Legislature overrode a veto by Gov. Mike DeWine, a fellow Republican, of legislation that reined in his administrations emergency powers to manage the pandemic. After requiring masks to be worn last year in schools, he has not renewed the order this fall.
Mr. DeWine, who drew national attention for his fast and forceful response to Covid in early 2020, now faces a 2022 primary challenge from Jim Renacci, a former congressman. Mr. Renacci said the governors handling of the virus was a big part of his more

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