The race for Ohio’s next governor

Ricchard Cordray (D) and Mike DeWine (R)


The clock is ticking down to Election Day, when you’ll be asked to decide the direction Ohio will take in the next four years.

The biggest race in the state is for governor, where current Gov. John Kasich (R) cannot run again due to term limits.

Democrat Richard Cordray and Republican Mike DeWine are the gubernatorial front-runners. Constance Gadell-Newton of the Green Party and Libertarian Travis Irvine are also seeking the state’s highest executive office.

The race has attracted the most money in Ohio history, surpassing the previous benchmark in early October.

As of the start of the month, the Democratic and Republican candidates had raised $38.1 million, eclipsing the $30.4 million combined record set in 2010 when John Kasich (R) defeated Ted Strickland (D).

It’s also been an especially muddy electoral season as the campaigns and PACs have gone on the attack.

For example, DeWine has slammed his opponent over the state’s massive rape kit backlog, saying they had been left to languish during Cordray’s tenure as attorney general.

Since winning the office, DeWine has processed more than 13,000 of the kits, providing DNA evidence in many aging sex assault cases — which, make no mistake, is good.

But his remarks against Cordray in this instance raise red flags, since the latter also inherited the backlog from a time when the state didn’t have a standard process from handling the kits. In fact it was Cordray who formed the Ohio Sexual Assault Kit Testing Commission with hopes of speeding up DNA testing.

In debates, the candidates have sparred over how to best handle Ohio’s deadly overdose epidemic, Ohio Issue 1 to reduce sentences for minor drug convictions, recreational marijuana, the Electronic School of Tomorrow charter school scandal, and stances on President Donald Trump.

Richard Cordray

Experience: Former Ohio attorney general, Ohio treasurer, director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, law clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, member of the U.S. House of Representatives (Ohio District 7).

Priorities: Solving Ohio’s opioid crisis, investing in clean energy, job training and infrastructure to support small businesses, protecting the $100 billion per year agricultural sector, Medicaid expansion, making children’s health insurance affordable, reducing gun violence, early childhood education, helping seniors prepare for retirement, developing the workforce in a changing economy.

Running mate: Betty Sutton

Mike DeWine

Experience: Current Ohio attorney general, former U.S. senator, lieutenant governor under George Voinovich, served in the U.S. House of Representatives, and was a state senator.

Priorities: Fostering job development, fighting Ohio’s opioid epidemic, reducing the amount of standardized testing in public schools, making college more affordable, protecting health insurance coverage for people with pre-existing coverage, Medicaid reform, improving school security, supporting law enforcement.

Running mate: Jon Husted

Constance Gadell-Newton

Experience: A civil rights attorney and activist.

Priorities: Revamping Ohio’s electoral process and making the state a more direct democracy, ending partisan gerrymandering, ending voter suppression, fighting corruption, increasing government transparency and accountability, supporting grassroots Community Bill of Rights initiatives, and safeguarding municipalities’ right to home rule.

Running mate: Brett Joseph

Travis Irvine

Experience: A journalist and filmmaker who owns a small video production company.

Priorities: Ending taxes and regulations he believes are harmful, reforming the criminal justice system, legalizing marijuana, fixing Medicaid, increased control of schools by local communities, opening the borders to all immigrants who request a work visa.

Running mate: J. Todd Grayson