Which Way Will Ohio Vote In This Year's Midterms?

Attendees remove the Ohio sign at the end of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.
Attendees remove the Ohio sign at the end of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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There’s a lot at stake in this year’s midterm elections in Ohio.

Republicans are trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. Democrats hope to break the GOP control over the governor’s office and other statewide positions. Nationally, majorities in Congress hang in the balance.

Helping us put the pieces together is Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

On competitive Congressional races in Ohio

“Ohio’s Congressional map was gerrymandered by Republicans in 2011. It was definitely designed to elect 12 Republicans to the House and four Democrats, and it has consistently done that…The one that seems like it could be the most competitive of the 12 Republican-held seats is OH-1, which is a district which has the west side of Cincinnati and a lot of Hamilton County. And then it also goes up into Warren County, which is a very Republican, exurban county in Southwest Cincinnati, although it’s one of the few places in the whole state where Donald Trump actually ran a little bit behind Mitt Romney from 2012…That’s the one that really stands out. The other one is OH-12, which is another kind of historically Republican district. That is an open seat that’s going to be contested in a special election later this year.”

On Ohio’s Senate race

“Sherrod Brown gets the benefit of the doubt by being a fairly proven incumbent. He’s also a Democrat running in a year where the national environment should probably favor Democrats, maybe just by a little, maybe by a lot…That said, Ohio, you know, pretty strongly trended Republican in the last presidential election. It voted significantly more Republican than the nation in the presidential race for the first time in a long time.”

On President Trump’s approval ratings in Ohio, where 46 percent approve and 50 percent disapprove, according to Morning Consult

“I think that Trump is going to be a liability across the country, even in states that voted for him…There’s just a long history of the president being, you know, a problem for his party in a midterm. I also think that the non-presidential party is often more excited to vote in an off-year environment…So for all those reasons, you’d expect the president to be a liability, but maybe he’s just a small liability as opposed to a big one, depending on where his numbers end up.”

On Ohio’s downticket statewide races

“I think you also have pretty credible candidates on both sides in some of the other statewide executive races, like attorney general, state auditor, secretary of state, etc. So those should be spirited races, too. And you know, looming over all of this is, Democrats have really done pretty poorly at the state legislative level and also the statewide executive level for the last couple of decades…If Republicans, you know, sweep the statewide elected offices, and also if they beat Sherrod Brown, I think you would look at the Democratic Party in Ohio as being on life support, because they really should be able to make some gains this year.”

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