Republican Mike DeWine defeats Democrat Richard Cordray…
(Laura A. Bischoff and Max Filby, Dayton Daily News) Republican Mike DeWine won Ohio’s governor race Tuesday in a big night for the GOP, which swept the down-ticket executive offices — attorney general, auditor, secretary of state and treasurer — for the third consecutive statewide election cycle.
The Associated Press called the race for DeWine at about 11 p.m. Republican leadership in 2020 will be critical for President Trump in his re-election campaign in the swing state.
With 96 percent of Ohio’s 8,904 precincts counted, DeWine had 51 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for Democrat Richard Cordray, a protege’ of far-left Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who actively campaigned for him.
Meanwhile, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, won his race over Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth. Renacci conceded the race around 8:30 p.m.
In the down-ticket contests, the attorney general’s race went to Dave Yost, the auditor’s race to Keith Faber, the secretary of state’s race to Frank LaRose and the treasurer’s race to Robert Sprague.
Although DeWine appeared at a rally with President Donald Trump in Cleveland on Monday, University of Dayton professor Christopher Devine said he did not go out of his way to embrace Trump during his campaign for governor.
“He didn’t repudiate him, either,” Devine said, “but it was obvious to anyone paying attention that Mike DeWine is not a big fan of President Trump and probably won’t govern as a Trump Republican in the same way that, say, Mary Taylor might have done so. And apparently Ohioans are OK with that. That’s an important lesson for other Republicans in Ohio.”
Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken said she saw high energy among voters on both sides of the aisle and she noted that the Ohio GOP made 300,000 phone calls and sent 500,000 text messages to encourage its voters to get to the polls.
The governor’s race was bitterly fought and expensive, ranking third nationally according to one estimate.
DeWine attempted to leverage his high name identification, loaned his campaign $4 million from his personal wealth, launched blistering attack ads and rallied GOP base voters with Trump in hopes of closing the deal.
Cordray was hoping to stage a political comeback, having lost to DeWine in the 2010 race for attorney general. He is a former state lawmaker, county treasurer, state treasurer and attorney general. On the national stage, he served as director of the unaccountable Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that was championed by Sen. Warren, a job that drew praise from consumer advocates and heavy criticism from Republicans, banks and payday lenders.
Over the past several months, the two men have attacked one another over the online charter school scandal, support for health care coverage and their track record as attorney general. They split over social issues such as access to abortion, gun control, legalizing marijuana and LGBTQ rights. And they argued over who is better suited to lead Ohio.
As the weeks wore on, the attacks got sharper.
“You’ve been a failure at every job you’ve ever had,” DeWine told Cordray in their first televised debate Sept. 19 at the University of Dayton. DeWine later ran ads that blamed Cordray for the national economic meltdown that devastated Ohio eight years ago.
Cordray fired off an email to supporters last week, saying “The truth is, Mike DeWine was willing to throw sick people off their health care while waging a partisan political war against the ACA — the only law to ever protect people with pre-existing conditions — in an effort to show his allegiance to the big health care and insurance companies that always bankroll his campaigns.”
The GOP has controlled the Ohio governor’s office for 24 of the last 28 years.
©2018 Dayton Daily News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC. Liberty Headlines editor Paul Chesser contributed.