© 2023 Ideastream Public Media

1375 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44115
(216) 916-6100 | (877) 399-3307

WKSU is a public media service licensed to Kent State University and operated by Ideastream Public Media.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
To contact us with news tips, story ideas or other related information, e-mail newsstaff@ideastream.org.

With Midterm Wins, Republicans Maintain Hold On Ohio

Ohio Governor-elect Mike DeWine celebrates his victory Tuesday night. [Dan Konik / ideastream]
Ohio Governor-elect Mike DeWine celebrates his victory Tuesday night.

It may have been a good night on the national stage for Democrats, who will take over the U.S. House of Representatives next year.

But Republicans have plenty to celebrate in Ohio. Last night’s election leaves Ohio state government firmly in the hands of Republicans, from the state legislature to the governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor and treasurer.

“What a great night for Republicans,” Ohio House Speaker Ryan Smith, R-Bidwell, told supporters at the party’s election night celebration. “I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of hearing about a blue wave.”

Those wins will give Republicans influential seats on the redistricting commission, which will draw state legislative districts after the 2020 census. The commission also may draw congressional districts if the state legislature fails to draw a map with enough support.

Mike DeWine defeated Richard Cordray by four points to become Ohio’s next governor, outpacing some recent polls that had given Democrats an edge.

“As governor, it will be my responsibility—and a responsibility that I take very, very seriously—to pull people together, Democrats, Republicans, independents, for our common cause,” DeWine said in his victory speech. “Our challenges are not solvable just by one party. They’re not solvable just by one person.”

Democrats had a few victories to celebrate. Sen. Sherrod Brown staved off a challenge from Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, delivering a victory speech that looked ahead to the next presidential election year.

“We will show America how we celebrate the dignity of work, how we honor organized labor and all workers,” Brown said. “That is the message coming out of Ohio in 2018 and that is the blueprint for America for 2020.”

Democrats also picked up two seats on the all-Republican state supreme court, with victories by Melody J. Stewart and Michael P. Donnelly. Stewart becomes the first African-American woman elected to the state’s top court.  

Republicans last night continued their decades-long dominance of Ohio midterms. The party has lost just two gubernatorial races in the past 32 years.

“It really will send Democrats back to the drawing board,” University of Cincinnati professor David Niven, a Democratic speechwriter, told ideastream last night. “If they can’t win an election with a national mood like we have right now, when can they win one?”

An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the redistricting commission would draw congressional district lines. In fact, it only does so if the state legislature can't agree to a map.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.