Ohio Republicans sweep races for statewide executive offices

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Every Republican statewide executive officeholder in Ohio won his bid for re-election in a full sweep of the executive offices; governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, and treasurer.

Incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted defeated the Democratic challenger Nan Whaley and her running mate Cheryl Stephens.

Attorney General Dave Yost beat Democratic candidate Jeff Crossman, who’s currently a state representative. Secretary of State Frank LaRose held off Democratic candidate Chelsea Clark and independent candidate Terpsehore Maras.

Auditor Keith Faber and Treasurer Robert Sprague also won in their races against Democratic candidates Taylor Sappington and Scott Schertzer, respectively.

The main campaign message from Republican incumbent officeholders was to ask voters to stay the course. The GOP candidates made the argument that Ohio was a state moving in the right direction and that the incumbents in office would continue that progress.

As the GOP candidates joined up for a bus tour around the state, LaRose told supporters to keep up the energy even though polls suggested they were ahead.

“We cannot get complacent in these final couple of days. We need to be switched on. We need to get our people out to vote. And I know this is what this is all about,” said LaRose.

The Democratic candidates made the pitch that decisions made by state leaders are giving Ohio a bad reputation on issues like abortion and corruption. They made the case that Democratic leadership would reverse course on the state’s six-week abortion ban, currently on hold as it goes through the courts. And they said they would crack down on corruption, such as the nuclear bailout bribery scandal, currently in federal court.

However, that message appeared to fail to gain traction with voters statewide, with low fundraising numbers and a low-profile governor’s race.

DeWine’s strategy included refusing to debate Whaley, avoiding appearing with her in person at the same forums, and limiting media availability later in the campaign.

The Republican statewide officeholders will go on to serve another four years in office, at which point they will all be term limited.