Republicans managed to maintain control of Ohio’s congressional delegation last night, as did the U.S. House. But as StateImpact Ohio’s Ida Lieszkovszky reports, there were some big victories for Democrats too.
The race between Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel and Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown was one of the most expensive Senate races in the country. The combined cost of the two campaigns exceeded 41 million dollars. Much of that money came from undisclosed donors, and Mandel and interests aligned with him aired four times as many ads as Brown.
But all that money and all those ads didn’t pay off. Voters like Lori Thorrat of Lakewood say they saw Mandel’s ads showing his time as a Marine, but that didn’t change their vote.
"I’m not in favor of Josh Mandel nor do I think that military service necessarily qualifies you to be in political office," Thorrat says.
Jason Johnson, a political scientist with Hiram University says the Brown-Mandel race, as well as the presidential race show that money does not determine the outcome of a race.
Johnson points out that “Brown got out-spent and still won. Barack Obama got out-spent and still won.”
Another Democrat who won without a problem was Marcy Kaptur in newly drawn District 9 that stretches along Lake Erie and includes parts of Cleveland and Toledo. Her opponent was Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher, aka Joe the Plumber, a Tea Party favorite.
“It’s the absolute death of the tea party," Johnson says.
But that district was one of only a handful that the Rebublican state lawmakers drew to favor Democrats. And, as they did two years ago, Republicans won most of Ohio’s races for the U.S. House. That including an intense battle between incumbents Betty Sutton and Jim Renacci in District 16 which includes Wayne County and parts of Stark, Summit, Portage and Cuyahoga counties.
Many voters Tuesday expressed confusion about which district they’re in. And Johnson says the ads had a political motivation.
Johnson says "they’re plan was to eliminate Democrats in that area and really they managed to get rid of Dennis Kucinich and they managed to get rid of Betty Sutton all within one relatively simple election cycle.”
Nationally, Ohio’s races contributed to the Senate maintaining Democratic control, and the House holding on to a Republican majority.