© 2021 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

In Big Midterm Year, Ohio's Races Draw National Attention

Ohio Republican Governor candidate Mike DeWine speaks while running mate Jon Husted looks on.
John Minchillo
Associated Press
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, right, speaks alongside Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, left, during a news conference at the University of Dayton to announce their decision to share the ticket in their bid for the Ohio governor.

History suggests that the party not represented in the White House does well in midterm Congressional elections – and this year, Ohio’s statewide races are likely to draw a lot of national attention.

Currently, Republicans control Congress and the White House, and President Trump’s popularity is at a historic low.

In Ohio, there are no incumbents running for governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state or treasurer. Not to mention, the entire Ohio House is on the ballot.

Kyle Kondik, an Ohio native and the editor of the political newsletter Sabato’s Crystal Ball, says this is a huge test for Democrats in Ohio.

“If Democrats can’t perform well in Ohio in this kind of environment, I think it does lead one to question whether the state’s kind of perpetual swing state status might be sort of going away,” Kondik says.

The newsletter forecasts Ohio as leaning Republican in the governor’s race, and leaning Democratic in the U.S. Senate race.

In the Ohio governor race, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor are competing for the Republican nomination, while the Democratic side is down to a five-way race between former CFPB director Richard Cordray, former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, state Rep. Connie Pillich, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill.

According to the newsletter, DeWine is the “big primary favorite” among Republicans, while Cordray seems the likely nominee but “is far from dominating and has not really scared off his rivals.”

So far, just U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci and Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons have stepped up to challenge incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown.