Home Law Six months away from the primary, here are the candidates for Ohio governor

Six months away from the primary, here are the candidates for Ohio governor

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Ohio Statehouse Rotunda. Photo by Mike King via Flickr.

There’s been a lot of buzz about the 2018 midterm elections, and for good reason. In addition to a number of national races, Ohioans will also be voting for their 70th governor. We introduced you to the candidates back in August—here’s what’s changed since then.

Who’s in:

There are two Ohio Republicans vying for their party’s nomination. Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. Both have a robust history of public service in the state

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine
Mike DeWine. Photo via Ohio Attorney General’s office.

DeWine is a former member of the Ohio Senate, and a former lieutenant governor. Taylor was previously

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor
Mary Taylor. Photo via Ohio Governor’s office.

the state auditor, and also served in the Ohio House.

According to his campaign website, DeWine is focusing on “creating a more inviting business environment” in the state through deregulation and job creation. In late November, DeWine named Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted as his running mate.

Taylor is centering her campaign around three issues: health care, addiction and tax reform. Her proposals include creating a Ohio-specific health care system, fueling the private sector to battle the opioid crisis and simplifying the tax code. Her running mate is Nathan Estruth, a former Procter & Gamble executive.

The Ohio University College Republicans did not respond to requests for comment regarding the Republican candidates.

The Democratic field is a little more crowded, but some candidates are already distinguishing themselves to Ohio University students. College Democrats President Ashley Fishwick said several members are involved in primary campaigns, but the organization as a whole does not endorse candidates at this stage.

My membership is very much split between supporting Richard Cordray and Joe Schiavoni,” said Fishwick.

Joe Schiavoni
Sen. Joe Schiavoni. Photo via Ohio Senate

A member of the Ohio Senate since 2014, Sen. Joe Schiavoni is running on a number of issues, including job creation and LGBTQ rights. At 38 years old, he’s the youngest candidate by over a decade. He’s also an Ohio U graduate, and his strong focus on education is one reason he’s popular among students.

“Schiavoni supporters also tend to lament the lack of younger politicians,” Fishwick said, “and so Schiavoni appeals to those who want a fresh face in Ohio politics.”

Schiavoni has chosen Ohio Board of Education member Stephanie Dodd as his running mate.

Another candidate seeking the office of the governor is Richard Cordray, the former director of the

Richard Cordray
Richard Cordray. Photo via Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Cordray entered late in the race, announcing his campaign in December 2017 after months of speculation.

Fishwick said many members of College Dems support Cordray because of “his work protecting consumers for the past few years as director of the CFPB, his already widespread support, including from President Obama, his fundraising capabilities, and his experience having previously ran for statewide offices.”

Cordray has previously served as the state attorney general, treasurer and solicitor general, as well as a member of the Ohio House. His running mate is former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton.

Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill is another candidate on the Democratic ticket with local ties. A 1969 Ohio U alum, O’Neill is campaigning for a number of reforms in Ohio, including legalizing recreational marijuana and raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. His running mate is Chantelle Lewis, an elementary school principal from Lorain County.

Bill O'Neil. Photo via Ohio Supreme Court.
Bill O’Neil. Photo via Ohio Supreme Court.

O’Neill has drawn controversy since announcing his campaign in October. Ohio law states that any judge running for a nonjudicial office must step down, but O’Neill maintains that he is not an official candidate until he files the paperwork. He has now said he will step down from the bench on Jan. 26.

O’Neill also made headlines in November when he posted details of his sexual history on Facebook.

Connie Pillich is the only woman candidate in the Democratic primary. On her campaign website,

Connie Pillich
Connie Pillich

the former state representative said she was “inspired by the energy” of the 2017 Women’s March, and is using her candidacy to reclaim Democratic values in Ohio. Her primary focuses are education reform, infrastructure and job creation. Pillich’s education plan includes free college tuition for residents who stay in the state after graduation. On Jan. 18, she announced her running mate, Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer.

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich is the most recent entry in the Democratic field. A two-time presidential candidate, Kucinich has not run for political office since 2012. His platform covers a wide

Dennis Kucinich. Photo via U.S. House of Representatives.
Dennis Kucinich. Photo via U.S. House of Representatives.

range of issues, from “restoring the relationship between local communities and state government,” to funding broader treatment for the opioid epidemic. His running mate is Tara Samples, an Akron City Councilwoman.

Who dropped out:

U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Ohio, was the first to leave the race. On Jan. 10, he announced that he would instead be campaigning for the U.S. Senate. If he wins the Republican nomination, Renacci will run against Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Democratic incumbent.

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley ended her campaign for the Democratic nomination a few days later in favor of endorsing Corday. Whaley will finish her second mayoral term in 2020.

Meanwhile, some candidates will carry on as part of another campaign. Sutton and Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted are running for lieutenant governor under Corday and DeWine’s tickets, respectively.

The Ohio gubernatorial primary is May 8.

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