Mike DeWine wins second term as Ohio’s governor: ‘We move forward’
The former Ohio attorney general has held elected office for more than four decades.
CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has won a second term in Ohio’s highest office, according to the Associated Press.
“Ohioans have been through a lot, as have all Americans in the last few years,” DeWine said in his acceptance speech. “But we are a resilient and tough people, and we move forward.”
Dewine, 75, faced off against Democratic challenger Nan Whaley, formerly the mayor of Dayton.
Whaley called to congratulate DeWine and wish him and his wife, Fran DeWine, good luck Tuesday night. Her full statement is included at the end of this story.
A race that wasn’t close
The incumbent governor held a commanding 21.5 edge in the polls coming into Tuesday, according to FiveThirtyEight.
He also led throughout in fundraising, including an October haul that doubled Whaley’s, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. DeWine reportedly had more than $7 million on hand for the stretch run of the campaign compared to Whaley’s $745,000.
The results are still being tabulated. As of 11 p.m., DeWine holds a lead of more than one million votes.
The pair did not debate publicly after DeWine refused Whaley’s invitations. In a pseudo-debate with the Cleveland Plain Dealer, they reportedly sparred over abortion, guns and more.
DeWine saw Ohio’s first primary challenge against an incumbent governor in nearly 45 years. He survived, if only by virtue of divided opposition.
Former President Donald Trump did not endorse a candidate in the Gubernatorial primary despite picking J.D. Vance from a field of Republican challengers for U.S. Senate.
Frustration appears to remain among conservative voters about DeWine’s aggressive early approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. The crowd that assembled for former President Donald Trump’s rally Monday in Dayton booed DeWine.
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.
She also tried to hit DeWine with his alleged involvement in the First Energy scandal.
But abortion was the main focus in Whaley’s ads after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs. DeWine signed the 2019 abortion ban that forbade abortions at the detection of heartbeat activity.
That ban is stayed pending a legal challenge out of Cincinnati. Doctors in court filings described the fallout of the abortion ban taking effect after Dobbs, including a 10-year-old Ohio girl who had to travel to Indiana for an abortion after being raped.
Those attacks nevertheless failed to overcome DeWine’s inertia as a household name with four decades in elected office and recent multi-billion dollar investments from Intel and Honda.
The incumbent governor stuck to economic messaging throughout the campaign, successfully pinning blame for high gas prices and overall inflation on Democratic President Joe Biden.
The message resounded with voters, for whom household and pocketbook issues loom large in 2022.
DeWine spoke Tuesday night about Ohio as a place where things are invented and made.
“When I talk to businesses about coming to Ohio, we have a lot of good stories and a lot of good things to tell, whether the abundance of water, the location or the infrastructure,” he said. “But in the end it comes down to the most important thing, which is our people. We have great people in Ohio.”
He continued: “There’s no better place in this world to live in than Ohio, no better place to raise a family than Ohio, no better place to start a business or grow a business than right here in the Buckeye State.”
DeWine acknowledged there’s still work to do.
“We have unfinished business,” he said. “[...]I will continue to push forward and to lead and to talk about the things that we have to do.”
DeWine said it’s his goal to care for Ohioans from natal care up through their secondary education. “Ohio is the land of opportunity,” he said, “and we must make sure that every Ohioan has that opportunity.”
He also highlighted ongoing problems of drug addiction and undiagnosed mental health issues, particularly among children.
“I’ve said since the beginning in this race that Ohio has a choice - and I still believe that’s true tonight. You can accept the status quo in our state and the extremists who have rigged the Statehouse. Or you can keep working for something better, even when you get knocked down, because our families and communities are worth it.
“We can keep working for an economy that works for every Ohioan, whether you live in Dayton or Cleveland Heights or Marietta. We can keep working to root out the rampant corruption that we know has infected our Statehouse. We can keep working to pass common sense gun reform, and make all of our communities more safe. We can keep working to raise the minimum wage, pass universal pre-k, and every other common sense policy that working families need in this state. And we can keep fighting for abortion rights.
“The last 20 months have been filled with high and lows. And while tonight wasn’t the high we had hoped for, I still believe in Ohio. I still believe that our citizens deserve better than what they’re getting. And believe in the people of this state to get us there. I’m going to keep fighting for Ohio, and I know you will too.”
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