- Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine easily won reelection against challengers including Jim Renacci.
- Renacci is a former four-term congressman.
- DeWine has been hammered for his handling of COVID-19.
Ohio held gubernatorial primary elections on Tuesday. Polls closed at 7:30 p.m.
The race and the stakes:
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine handily defeated his three challengers on Tuesday evening and will face off against Democrat Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton, in November.
DeWine, a Republican who was first elected governor in 2018, served as a US senator for two terms before being ousted by Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2006. Following the loss, DeWine was elected as the state’s attorney general in 2010, a position he maintained until winning his gubernatorial race nearly a decade later.
In the Republican primary, DeWine faced off against Jim Renacci, a business owner and former four-term representative for Ohio’s 16th Congressional District. Other Republicans who vied for their party’s gubernatorial nomination were Joe Blystone, a nonprofit founder and “constitutional conservative,” and former state representative Ron Hood.
On the stump and at debates, GOP gubernatorial candidates hammered DeWine for his response to the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically his decisions to shut down schools and businesses in an attempt to stymie the spread of the virus.
“He made a choice to rule like Andrew Cuomo instead of leading like President Trump,” Renacci said in a campaign video, referencing New York’s tough-on-COVID former governor, who resigned in August amid accusations of sexual harassment.
Two Democrats also vied for the opportunity to become Ohio’s next governor, including John Cranley, the former mayor of Cincinnati, and Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton, Ohio.
A Republican has led Ohio as governor since 2011, when former Gov. John Kasich took office after narrowly defeating Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland.
Since 1991, Republicans have occupied Ohio’s governor’s residence every year except for the four — 2007 to 2011 — that Strickland served.
What experts say:
The Ohio gubernatorial race is rated as “solid Republican” by Inside Elections, “likely R” by The Cook Political Report, and “likely R” by Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.