Election Night 2012 Brings An End to The Campaign Trail

By now, it’s old news – President Obama defeated Gov. Mitt Romney by 107,241 votes, according to the unofficial tally from the Secretary of State’s office. That’s a margin of exactly two percent among 5,364,324 votes cast in the presidential race. Voters also sent incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown back to the US Senate by a wider margin – of the 5.2 million votes cast in that race, 50% went for Brown, 45% for Mandel. It was one of the most expensive US Senate races in the country, and Ohio also saw the 3rd and 7th most expensive US House races – the 8th and the 16th district races.
In the Ohio Senate, Republicans keep their majority with the same number of seats next year, and in the House, it’s still unclear what the final breakdown would be because three races are still undecided. In the Ohio Supreme Court races, the party balance stays the same, after a Republican incumbent and a Democratic justice were knocked off. And both the statewide issues failed. Issue 2 was sounded defeated - anti-Issue 2 spokesman Carlo Loparo says the issue was too complicated to fix problems with redistricting, while Issue 2 spokesman Brian Rothenberg says the other side ran a deceptive campaign.

Two days after the election, the big Impact Ohio conference convened to talk about the election and the issues facing state government going forward. At one panel, retired Dispatch editor and newly elected Democratic Rep. Mike Curtin, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney of Cincinnati and Republican former Ohio House Speaker JoAnn Davidson talked about possible election law changes, redistricting and other topics. The attendees also heard from Sen. Keith Faber, who is presumed to be the next Senate president, who said lawmakers might – in his words – take a stab at redistricting reform, along with other issues. House Speaker Bill Batchelder didn’t address the crowd early in the day, instead sending his spokesman Mike Dittoe, who told the audience that the House will be facing a busy agenda.

Before the polls closed and the returns started rolling in, I sat down with two veteran strategists to look back on Election 2012 and to talk about their impressions. Mike Dawson was a top aide and spokesman for Gov. and then Sen. George Voinovich. He’s now a Republican consultant. Greg Haas was the Ohio Coordinated Campaign Director for the Clinton/Gore campaign in 1992 and has worked for Gov. Richard Celeste and US Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow. He’s now the chair of the Franklin County Democratic Party. Here’s part of our conversation, during which I asked them to rate the strengths they saw in the opposing campaign – and the weaknesses of the campaign of the candidate they supported.

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