Those Ohio Republicans who’ve been notably successful, such as Gov. John R. Kasich and former House Speaker Jo Ann Davidson, a suburban Columbus Republican, and – perhaps most obviously – the late James A. Rhodes, the state’s governor for a record 16 years, have taken practical rather than dogmatic or theoretical approaches to campaigns and elections.
In 2010, Kasich unseated an incumbent governor (Democrat Ted Strickland, who’s now challenging Portman’s re-election). Ohioans hadn’t unseated an incumbent governor in 36 years. And in November 1994, Davidson pried control of Ohio’s House from Democrats, who’d run the joint for 22 years. Ever since (except in 2009-10, after Barack Obama carried Ohio the first time) the 99-member Ohio House has remained Republican-run, albeit with the help of every incumbent’s very best friend, Mr. Gerry Mander. Today, the Ohio House, led by Speaker Clifford A. Rosenberger, a Clinton County Republican, has 65 Republican members, its largest GOP caucus since “one-man, one-vote,” districts took effect 50 years ago, in November 1966.
As for this November, the Republicans who win won’t be the Republicans who try to get Americans to hate each other. The winning Republicans will be Republicans who talk about jobs and prices – and the future.