Race for Ohio governor begins to heat up ahead of May primary

Posted at 7:21 AM, Mar 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-28 09:08:19-04

CLEVELAND—For the first time in a dozen years, Ohio is seeing primaries for an open seat for governor as incumbent Governor John Kasich is term-limited. As a result the battle for both party nominations is heating up two weeks ahead of the start of early voting.

On the Republican side Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and Attorney General Mike DeWine have begun airing ads that attempt to define the other in the eyes of the voters.

“What we’re seeing is Mary Taylor trying to out-Trump Trump in her approach in being the outsider running against DeWine who she describes as old, the establishment, not a true conservative,” said News 5 Political Analyst Tom Sutton of Baldwin-Wallace University.

DeWine has aired ads in response criticizing Taylor for experience and work ethic.

“I think the advantage still goes to DeWine but given the amount of money that Taylor is putting into this it really depends on where voters are come the primary,” he said.

“I think really for her this is a, either she gets it done now or it doesn’t happen again.”

Sutton said the difficulty with taking the approach that’s based on a continuation of the Trump revolution is that "a chunk of that Trump vote in 2016 were Democrats that voted for Trump and really the particulars of that race, compared to this race, are quite different."

For the Democrats the four-way Sutton said is really a battle between two, former Attorney General Richard Cordray and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich, who didn’t get into the race until January.

“When Dennis Kucinich first announced I said ‘don’t underestimate Dennis when it comes to campaigns,’” Sutton said of the fact that polls show the race as tight.

“You have to understand Dennis is a populist,” Sutton said, “in contrast, Richard Cordray doesn’t really play well on the campaign trail. He’s kind of a dry presence, he’s got money, establishment but that’s not necessarily going to make it for him particularly because for the Democrats there is the Progressive wing that's forming and will that wing turn out strong? If they do likely they are turning out for Dennis Kucinich and that could tip the race his way. Could be a big surprise," Sutton said.