Ohio election 2018: Races for governor, Senate to heat up

Yes, you just finished voting in the 2017 general election and you’re looking forward to watching TV without political ads. But politicians never stop campaigning and the 2018 election — a doozy — is just around the corner.

Here is a quick preview of what’s to come.

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Ohio Governor

Eight candidates — four Democrats, four Republicans — are officially in the race, and a fifth Democrat, Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill, says he will run but won’t make it official until the filing deadline. On the GOP side of the equation are: Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci. Democrats in the race so far are: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton and former state representative Connie Pillich.

RELATED: What issues do you want the next governor to handle?

Down and dirty analysis: The Republicans have four well-known, experienced candidates who can raise money and grab statewide media attention. The GOP’s biggest problem is the real potential that the four will tear each other to pieces and blow huge amounts of money in the primary election. The Democrats are known within their regions but lack statewide name identification and are under-funded compared with the Republicans. A primary could be bruising and expensive for Dems as well. On top of that, Democrats are still waiting to hear whether former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray will enter the race.

U.S. Senate

Incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown beat Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel by six percentage points in the 2012 election. Mandel wants a rematch — a rarity in U.S. Senate races. But before Mandel can take on Brown, he needs to beat Cleveland-area business mogul Mike Gibbons in the GOP primary.

RELATED: How much are the governor candidates worth?

Down and dirty analysis: Brown faces a tougher election cycle because Democratic voter turnout is typically lower in gubernatorial elections than it is in presidential elections. Likewise, Ohio went for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 contest, indicating the state may be trending more Republican. That said, Mandel courts controversy on a regular basis. He spent $1.8 million in taxpayer money on TV ads starring himself to promote a new program. He also announced that he was standing with right-wing conspiracy theorists who the Anti-Defamation League identified as members of the alt-right and alt-light movements.

Down Ticket Races

Attorney General: State Auditor Dave Yost, a Delaware County Republican, is the likely GOP candidate to go up against Democrat Steve Dettelbach, the former U.S. Attorney for the northern district of Ohio.

Auditor: State Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, who is the former Ohio Senate president, is running against Democrat Zack Space, a former U.S. representative.

Secretary of State: State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Copley, is running against state Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent. Both lawmakers have shaped their legislative resumes with voting and elections-related bills.

Treasurer: State Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, is running against Democrat Rob Richardson of Cincinnati.

Down and dirty analysis: At this point the primary election will be ho-hum in these four races with no intra-party fights. The success of the candidates is often closely linked to how well their candidate does in the governor’s race.

Ohio Supreme Court

Justices and Terrence O’Donnell are not allowed to run for re-election because of their ages. Judges statewide are prohibited from running an election once they turn 70.

That means two open seats will be up for grabs.

Justices are selected through partisan primaries but then their party label is stripped from the ballot in the general election. For the record, O’Donnell is a Republican and O’Neill is the only Democrat on the seven-member court.

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