“This is Ohio’s time in history,” Gov. Mike DeWine told a Republican victory party in Columbus shortly after the he was declared winner in his bid for re-election over Democratic challenger Nan Whaley, former mayor of Dayton.
DeWine spoke in general terms during a short speech. For the next four years pledged more emphasis on attracting business, early childhood care and education, improved career paths for high school graduates, and more mental health services.
Whaley told supporters in downtown Dayton Tuesday night that the election result wasn’t what she hoped for, but that she would continue to fight for what she believes in.
“I’ve said all along: You got a choice, Ohio; and that’s true tonight,” she said. “You can accept the status quo in our state and the extremists who have rigged the system and the Statehouse and you can accept decline. Or you can keep working for something better, even when you get knocked down because our families and our communities are worth it.”
Whaley called on her supporters to keep working for things like gun reform, minimum wage increases, universal pre-K and for an economy “that works for everyone.”
“And we can keep fighting for abortion rights,” she said. “We already know what’s coming our way, a complete abortion ban. A ban that would prosecute doctors, subpoena medical records and kill women. But we still have the power to stop it.” She called for a ballot initiative that would codify abortion rights in the Ohio State Constitution.
DeWine’s running mate Lt. Gov. Jon Husted introduced DeWine on the stage in the ballroom of the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel, saying: “We delivered. There is much more to come over the next four years, you can count on that.”
Husted promised further focus on attracting businesses to Ohio, changes to education policy and prosecuting drug “cartels.”
“Winning means you will have more control over what your children are exposed to in schools,” Husted said.
He called DeWine as “the source of reason and stability” in Ohio’s tumultuous last few years, and predicted their ticket would be reelected by one of the largest margins in state history.
Three hours after polls closed, with more than 75% of the state’s precincts reporting unofficial results, 63% to 37%. That included about 3.6 million of the state’s 8 million registered voters.
DeWine, of Cedarville, and Husted were ahead in polls and especially in fundraising throughout the campaign.
DeWine’s campaign focused on economics, highlighting his role in bringing big projects to Ohio including Intel’s computer chip factories, a $20 billion initial investment expected to create thousands of jobs. Early on his campaign touted DeWine as “the most pro-life governor in Ohio history,” highlighting his signature of several laws restricting abortion, but by mid-July all mention of abortion had been scrubbed from his campaign website.
For his second term, DeWine promised “more of the same.” He has said he will present a legislative proposal to promote mental health research in Ohio and wants to expand eligibility for publicly funded childcare.
Whaley, a vocal supporter of abortion rights, campaigned on anger over the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade. She also criticized DeWine for loosening gun laws and sought to tie him closer to the First Energy bribery scandal.
DeWine refused to debate Whaley one-on-one, though both candidates spoke separately to the same groups several times.
Former President Donald Trump didn’t endorse DeWine until after the four-way Republican primary, but did so in September.