Mike DeWine, Nan Whaley to face off in Ohio governor’s race

DeWine trounced a field of Republican challengers. Whaley overcame former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.
Published: May. 3, 2022 at 8:52 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

[Full election results here]

CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio voters will choose later this year between Democrat Nan Whaley and Republican Mike DeWine for governor of the Buckeye State, according to the Associated Press.

DeWine in Tuesday’s primary soundly beat former US Rep. Jim Renacci, former Ohio Rep. Ron Hood and farmer Joe Blystone. It’s the first time in nearly 45 years an incumbent governor has faced a primary challenge in Ohio.

The trio of Republicans tried to capitalize on Ohioans’ extant frustrations with the governor surrounding his responses to COVID-19 during the pandemic. DeWine appears to have survived if only by virtue of divided opposition.

Perhaps just as impactful, former President Donald Trump did not endorse a candidate in the gubernatorial race despite picking J.D. Vance to replace Sen. Rob Portman in Ohio’s US Senate race.

Said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik, “Congratulations to Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted on their strong victory tonight. Ohio Republicans look forward to voters across the Buckeye State rallying around their steadfast leadership to, once again, win the Governor’s Office in November.”

The Democratic primary saw Whaley take on John Cranley in a close contest of two former mayors representing Ohio’s fourth-largest and largest metros—Dayton and Cincinnati, respectively.

Polling showed the race was within the margin of error heading into Tuesday, but Whaley took a large initial lead, and Cranley’s chances nosedived after early voting results out of Hamilton County showed him trailing even in his home territory.

Cranley conceded after the AP called the race around 8:50 p.m., saying he called Whaley and wished her luck. “She ran a good campaign and is a good person,” he said.

Ohio Democratic Party Chair Elizabeth Walters issued the following statement:

“Nan Whaley is the leader Ohio deserves with a proven track record of leading Ohio through its toughest times and helping our state come out stronger on the other side. Tonight, she makes history as the first woman to secure the gubernatorial nomination of a major political party in Ohio, cementing a strong and diverse ticket of candidates ready to show Ohio voters we’re on their side. Mayor Whaley provides a stark contrast to the corruption, incompetence and waste we’ve seen from Mike DeWine and his Republican cronies. Mayor Whaley is the candidate Ohio needs to create jobs, clean up corruption and put Ohio back on the right track.”

Whaley, self-styled as a tough, working-class Dayton Democrat whose father was laid off from a GM plant, campaigned in part on a jobs plan that would raise Ohio’s minimum wage to $15.

“Wages need to go up across the board in Ohio so one good job can be enough,” Whaley said last year in Cincinnati, where she unveiled her jobs plan. “As I travel around the state, I’ve talked to far too many people who work two jobs and still must go to the food bank to get by.”

Cranley countered by touting his achievements in Cincinnati, including turning around the city’s decades of population losses.

But Cranley’s messaging may have rubbed some the wrong way. Five Ohio mayors called on him to take down an ad they said belittled Dayton residents. “Who’s the best Democrat to beat DeWine and lead Ohio’s comeback?” Cranley asks in the ad. “The mayor whose city is getting worse?”

Whaley countered in an April interview, citing Cincinnati’s advantages in corporations and professional sports, “As mayor, he was born on third and thinks he hit the triple, and it’s really been there the whole time.” She also said the ad was a “self-serving” attack from a “desperate millionaire.”

A central issue in the Democratic primary was who would be best positioned to take on DeWine, whom polling revealed as the likely favorite in the Republican primary from the start.

Whaley cast herself in a debate last month as “something different” in comparison to Cranley’s profile as a “moderate white man.” She continued, “We can try to do the same thing over and over again … or we can try something new and run a woman for governor.”

DeWine presents a formidable opponent for Whaley. He’s held elected office for more than four decades, including positions as local prosecutor, state lawmaker, lieutenant governor, U.S. representative, U.S. senator, attorney general and governor.

His popularity during the pandemic waxed and waned, but he’s a household name with a recent political victory in luring Intel’s massive semiconductor factory to central Ohio.

Whaley will likely try to hit DeWine with his alleged involvement in the First Energy scandal. It remains to be seen whether the attack line will register with voters.

See a spelling or grammar error in our story? Please include the title when you click here to report it.

Copyright 2022 WXIX. All rights reserved.