Whaley, Democratic nominee for governor, casts vote in Dayton

Former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and her husband Sam Braun cast early votes Monday morning at the Montgomery County Board of Elections office, after which Whaley urged others to do the same — castigating Republican incumbent Gov. Mike DeWine as “extreme and radical” and out of touch with Ohioans.

“Frankly, if you’re a woman in Ohio, this is probably the most important election you’ll ever be a part of,” Whaley said. She referred to DeWine’s approval of anti-abortion legislation, a critical issue following the June overturn of Roe v. Wade.

She criticized DeWine for refusing to debate him, serving as governor during a massive corruption scandal, and reneging on promises to “do something” about guns.

Asked for a response, DeWine’s campaign fired back.

“Mayor Whaley has been using the same tired, misleading talking points her entire campaign,” said Tricia McLaughlin, DeWine campaign communications director. “What Ohioans haven’t heard from her is a single tenable policy proposal — any ‘plan’ she has offered looks more like a laundry list of political tropes sprinkled with knock-off policies already implemented by the current governor.”

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Whaley, Dayton mayor from 2014 to 2022, is the first woman to be a major-party nominee for Ohio governor. Polls show her and her running mate Cheryl Stephens lagging behind DeWine, who is seeking a second four-year term with his current Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

Whaley shrugged off the polling gap, noting that early voting this year has exceeded numbers from 2018.

“We see real momentum across the state,” she said.

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