COLUMBUS — The big question for first-term Republican Gov. Mike DeWine heading into the primary was just how many conservative voters wanted to punish him for pushing aggressive mandates and shutdowns during the pandemic. On Tuesday, in spite of the negative rhetoric, Republican voters in Ohio opted to keep him as their candidate in November.
DeWine is widely known for a 40-year career in Ohio politics and was in a solid position to win the GOP’s nomination for another four-year term. His two main challengers tapped into the anger over the governor’s COVID-19 policies.
DeWine didn’t take any chances, pouring millions into advertising during the weeks leading into the primary. The governor declined to debate his Republican candidates ahead of the primary, and after his main challengers followed suit, the debate was called off entirely.
The concern will be whether those same conservative voters who were furious with DeWine will come back to him in November.
The Ohio Republican Party released the following statement on DeWine's victory:
"Congratulations to Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted on their strong victory tonight. Ohio Republicans look forward to voters across the Buckeye State rallying around their steadfast leadership to, once again, win the Governor's Office in November."
Ohio Democrats released the following statement on DeWine's victory:
“As Mike DeWine limps across the finish line, it’s clear that he’s in real trouble come November. Republicans and Democrats agree on one thing: Mike DeWine is the wrong choice for Ohio. Ohioans have paid too high a price for DeWine’s corruption and incompetence over the last four years, it’s time for a new direction. Ohio Democrats are ready to offer a better way forward: putting Ohio’s working families first."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.