Know Ohio: Ohio's Role in Presidential Elections

Next week, Ohio joins the party – we'll hold our primary on March 15th. And, although we haven't received much attention in the presidential election so far, Ohio is sure to take center stage after the primaries. But why is the spotlight always on Ohio during presidential elections? Know Ohio correspondent Mary Fecteau explains.   

Ok, I know I’m probably biased, but I think Ohio is the most important state – and for certain stretch of time every four years, a lot of people agree with me, especially presidential candidates.

You might remember the media circus in Ohio during the last presidential election. Back then, candidates Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and their running mates made a total of 73 stops in Buckeye State, far more than any other state. And the media was all about us too – with bold headlines about our importance and predictions about how we’d vote.

But Ohio is awesome all the time, so how come we only get this kind of attention during presidential elections? Well, in addition to being awesome, Ohio is a swing state – that means our voters don’t overwhelmingly support either party. So, while some states, like California, usually vote for Democrats -- and others, like, Texas, usually vote for Republicans, Ohio is always a mystery. There are other swing states, like Florida and Pennsylvania, but Ohio is generally considered to be the swingy-est – that is, we’re the most unpredictable.

In addition to being a swing state, we’re also the 7th most populous – which means we have a lot of voters and, thus, a lot of electoral votes -- those are votes cast by the members of the Electoral College, based on the popular vote. Ohio’s 18 electoral votes are a real prize for presidential candidates!

 And history tells us Ohio is important too – especially for Republicans. Since the election of Abraham Lincoln, no Republican candidate has won the presidency without carrying Ohio. And Ohio tends to a pick winner – we haven’t voted for a loser since 1960!

Part of what makes Ohio so special in elections is what makes Ohio so special in general: our diversity. With both large cities and rural towns, and a real mix of races, religions, and cultures, Ohio is the perfect representation of the country as a whole.

So, from the Republican National Convention in Cleveland to the first presidential debate in Dayton, get ready to have all eyes on Ohio…at least for a bit!

Instructional Links

Website Article: Political Parties, Campaigns and Elections, Importance of Ohio

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