Incumbent GOP Gov. Mike DeWine defeats Democrat Nan Whaley
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has won a second term in Tuesday’s race for the state’s chief executive slot against challenger Nan Whaley, a Democrat, who had hoped to regain a seat last held by her party 16 years ago. DeWine won a surprisingly tight three-way primary in May as conservatives angered by his efforts to slow COVID-19 sought to unseat him. Whaley handily defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley in her primary. DeWine and Whaley bonded over the 2019 mass shooting that killed nine in Dayton. But Whaley had increasingly criticized the governor for his failure to pass stronger gun laws and for his anti-abortion stance.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was seeking a second term in Tuesday’s race for the state’s chief executive slot while challenger Nan Whaley, a Democrat, hoped to regain a seat last won by her party 16 years ago.
DeWine prevailed in a surprisingly tight three-way primary in May as conservatives angered by his efforts to slow the spread of the coronavirus sought to unseat him. Whaley handily defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley in her primary.
Despite their political differences, DeWine and Whaley bonded briefly over the 2019 Dayton mass shooting that killed nine and wounded more than two dozen. But Whaley increasingly criticized the governor for his failure to pass stronger gun laws and for his anti-abortion stance.
Races for four other statewide offices were also being contested Tuesday, for Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, and Secretary of State, all seats currently held by incumbent Republicans.
Races for Ohio House and Senate seats are the first test of new legislative maps drawn by the Ohio Redistricting Commission meant to reduce gerrymandering. The maps before voters were found unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court but a panel of federal judges ordered them used for this election only.
In two Supreme Court races, Democrats were hoping to regain control of the court for the first time since 1986. Voters also have two ballot issues before them: requiring judges to consider criminal suspects’ threat to public safety when setting bail amounts; and prohibiting local governments from allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections.
In the governor’s race, DeWine, 75, has portrayed himself as above the campaign fray and has declined to debate Whaley. His campaign resisted attack ads against Whaley until last month, when it criticized her for supporting the American Rescue Plan Act in her role as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The ads fail to mention that DeWine has promoted grants the state received through the pandemic relief measure.
Whaley, 46, has said DeWine was afraid of debate questions about his role in a $60 million bribery scheme aimed at passing legislation to prop up Ohio’s two nuclear power plants; the controversy over a 10-year-old Ohio girl forced to seek an abortion in Indiana after being raped; and DeWine’s signing of a law allowing school districts to arm trained employees.
DeWine has said Ohioans already know him and his positions well. Besides being one of the state’s most familiar politicians, DeWine also spent months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic appearing in daily statewide broadcasts.
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