The update below was provided to OAA by Calfee Halter Griswold following yesterday’s elections.
Republican Mike DeWine wins governor’s race and Republican maintain control of all statewide seats
Following an extremely tight race, Mike DeWine will be the next Governor of Ohio, winning with approximately 50.66 percent of the vote to Democrat Richard Cordray’s 46.45 percent. Secretary of State Jon Husted will serve as Lieutenant Governor. Republicans swept all of the remaining statewide offices:
The night saw record turnout. More than 4.38 million people cast ballots, for a turnout of 54.3 percent, the highest percentage turnout in a non-presidential year since the Republican wave of 1994.
In the rest of the country, Democrats did well in the races for governor. Thirty-five other states elected governors this year, with 15 states electing Democrats and 18 electing Republicans. Three remain close, with a Democrat leading in one and Republicans leading in the other two. Democrats now hold the top elected seat in 22 states, with a possibility for 23, up from 16 states currently.
Democrat Sherrod Brown wins U.S. Senate race
Democrat U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown will be returning to the U.S. Senate after holding off his Republican challenger, U.S. Representative Jim Renacci. Brown, a long-time state and federal legislator from Cleveland, won his third term in the Senate by taking 53.2 percent of the vote to Renacci’s 46.8 percent. Brown maintained a sizable lead over Renacci, both in the polls and in fundraising, throughout the race.
Republicans maintained control of the Senate and picked up at least one and likely four additional seats that remain too close to call. Republicans will hold a likely 55 seat majority in the next session.
Democrats take control of U.S. House
Despite Democratic gains around the country, no seats were flipped in Ohio, with all incumbents winning their elections and Anthony Gonzalez keeping the open 16th seat in Republican hands. Ohio currently has 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats serving in the U.S. House.
Overall, Democrats were able to flip the House by picking at least 26 seats and leading in an additional 9 races. With at least 219 seats, one over the required 218 to take control, this will be the first time Democrats have been in control of the House since 2011.
Republicans lose seats in House but gain one in the Senate, maintaining strong majorities
All incumbent House members were able to win their races, but Republicans lost open seats in suburban communities of Akron, Cleveland and Columbus. In all Democrats were able to turn 5 seats blue, but their pickup was offset by the loss of one seat in Youngstown area. Despite these losses, Republicans will maintain a comfortable majority of 62 to 37. While the upsets were close, all fall outside of the automatic recount percentage.
In the Senate, the Republicans have added to their majority by picking up the seat currently held by Democrat Joe Schiavoni of Boardman. This win increases the Republican majority to 25, with only 8 Democrat members.
Democrat wins bring bipartisan representation to the Ohio Supreme Court
The Democratic candidates were successful in both races for the Supreme Court. Judge Melody Stewart of the 8th Appellate District in Cuyahoga County defeated incumbent Justice Mary DeGenaro. Justice DeGenaro was appointed earlier this year by Governor Kasich to replace retiring Justice Bill O’Neill. Judge Michael Donnelly of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, defeated Judge Craig Baldwin of the 5th Appellate District in Licking County for the seat being vacated by retiring Justice Terrence O’Donnell. Stewart and Donnelly will join the five Republican justices currently serving on the Court.
Issue 1 goes down to defeat
Voters defeated Issue 1 - the Neighborhood Safety, Drug Treatment, and Rehabilitation Amendment – by a vote of 63.4 to 36.6 percent. The proposed constitutional amendment would have amended Ohio’s drug laws by lessening penalties for drug use or possession and using the savings from fewer incarcerations to pay for increased treatment options. There was significant opposition across the state, with opponents stating that the proponents were overstating the potential savings and thus the funds available for treatment. Many judges also argued that the amendment would have undermined their ability to use lengthy sentences as leverage to get offenders into treatment. Most of the support was from groups from outside of the state.