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Did Democrats' Blue Wave Crash On The Shores Of Ohio?

David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman, with the party's statewide candidates
Jo Ingles
Ohio Public Radio
David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party Chairman, speaks at a press conference with the party's candidate for the November ballot.

Numbers from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office show the so-called "Blue wave," nicknamed for Democratic enthusiasm that’s been evident in other states' races recently, might not be real in Ohio.

Only a fifth of Ohio’s registered voters cast ballots and of those, there were 20 percent more Republican ballots cast than Democratic ones. Republicans say that’s evidencethere’s not a blue wave in Ohio.

But Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper says there was more Democratic participation this year than in the 2016 primary. Still he says there are reasons why more Republicans voted.

“We maintained neutrality, we were not pushing the vote out," in the gubernatorial race, Pepper said. "That was up to the individual candidates. There also was $8 million more spent in the Republican primary than our side.”

Sen. Sherrod Brown says he's neither surprised nor worried about lower Democratic turnout, due to the particularly divisive Republican primary.

"I think the enthusiasm is clearly on the side of people who want a different direction for this country and want a different direction for this state," Brown said. "As for what drove the turnout on the Republican side was clear. On the Democratic side there weren't a lot of TV ads, there weren't a lot of attacks back and forth to kind of get people going.

Brown also says the primary results demonstrate a strong showing for Democrats int he governor's race. Meanwhile, Brown himself is up for reelection this year and ran unopposed in the primary. He'll face Rep. Jim Renacci in the general election.

Democrats are already taking a page from their playbook from 2006, when they won nearly all statewide offices. They are using phrases like “culture of corruption” and “pay-to-play” when talking about Republican controversies surrounding ECOT and payday loans.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.