5 Insights Into Ohio’s Race for Governor
With midterm elections just 10 weeks away, campaign season is finally heating up. Election forecasters are predicting an overturn of power in the House and Senate from Republicans to Democrats, with several using the close-call election in Ohio’s District 12 as an indicator of extreme enthusiasm on the left.
For the governor’s seat, Democrat Richard Cordray faces Republican Mike DeWine in November, each navigating a political landscape littered with controversy, distrust, and polarization. So far the race has no clear winner, and as both candidates face the rifts in their respective parties, a lot of other factors are lining up to make for an interesting — and close — election.
The Trump Effect is Fading
Depending on the state, or even the individual district, Trump’s stamp of approval could sabotage or redeem a candidate’s chances of winning. In Ohio, his endorsement is looking more and more like the kiss of death for Republican candidates.
In the state’s most recent special election on August 7, deep red District 12 leaned harder to the left than it has since 1981. Though Trump-backed candidate Troy Balderson claimed a victory, the election was too close to call for almost three weeks, with Balderson ultimately walking away with a less than 1 percent lead. It was a shockingly narrow win for a Republican candidate running in a district that Trump won by 11 points in 2016.
Trump was fast to take credit for Balderson’s win.
“When I decided to go to Ohio for Troy Balderson, he was down in early voting 64 to 36. That was not good,” Trump said in a tweet. “After my speech on Saturday night, there was a big turn for the better. Now Troy wins a great victory during a very tough time of the year for voting. He will win BIG in Nov.”
Balderson will face Democrat Danny O’Connor once again in November for the general election. So far, no new polls have surfaced predicting this next race.
In the race to become the next U.S. Senator, Trump surrogate Jim Renacci trails behind Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown by at least 15 points in every recent poll. In May, RealClearPolitics showed Brown leading 52 percent to 36 percent, with the rest undecided. In June, Quinnipiac put Brown at 51 percent and Renacci at 34 percent.
DeWine has so far successfully navigated around Trump’s extremism, and with his support for Medicaid expansion, has earned the endorsement of the more moderate conservative Gov. John Kasich.
“I think DeWine recognizes that Donald Trump is a mixed blessing. While he has been supportive of Donald Trump, he’s not looking to Donald Trump to somehow carry him across the finish line,” says Herb Asher, professor emeritus of political science at the Ohio State University. “He’s running on his own record, and he recognizes that while there’s a base of Trump loyalists, they’re willing to vote for him anyway. He has to get the independent, or unaffiliated, centrist.”
Similarly, Cordray has largely left Trump’s name out of his mouth, critiquing the president’s policy rather than going for the low-hanging fruit that are his Twitter-storms and inflammatory sound bites.
“Trump just said I ‘ruined people’s lives’ at CFPB. Actually, millions of Americans had lives ruined by Wall Street greed. We got $12 billion back for those who were cheated,” Cordray tweeted last Friday. “You & DeWine side with them rather than hold them accountable.”
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