A series of deadly tornadoes that tore through the Midwest over the weekend left the governors of Indiana and Kentucky seeking federal disaster assistance. But Ohio Governor John Kasich turned down federal help, saying his state could handle the cleanup on its own, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports
Kasich left open the possibility of asking for federal assistance later. But the second-year Republican, who has frequently criticized the federal government under President Obama, said Ohio did not need immediate assistance. "I believe that we can handle this," Kasich said, according to the Enquirer
. "We'll have down here all the assets of the state."
Democrats accused the governor of playing to his base, rather than tapping into all of the recovery resources that are available. "It would appear at first blush that he's probably playing politics," Dave Lane, the head of the Democratic Party in hard-hit Clermont County, Ohio, told the Enquirer
. According to The Wall Street Journal
, at least 37 people were killed by the tornadoes in the three states most affected: 21 in Kentucky, 13 in Indiana and three in Ohio. Local officials in those states said it would take months to rebuild, and meteorologists described the storms as a " once a decade
"-scale disaster. Editor's note: After initially declining federal assistance, Kasich sought help from the federal government on Monday (March 5).