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Mike DeWine and Nan Whaley to run in historic Ohio gubernatorial race

Nan Whaley and Mike DeWine are the nominees for Ohio's gubernatorial general election.
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Nan Whaley and Mike DeWine are the nominees for Ohio's gubernatorial general election.

After facing different challenges for their party's nomination in the primary, Mike DeWine and Nan Whaley will face each other in Ohio's gubernatorial race this November.

Whaley made history in this primary as the first woman to receive the nomination for Ohio governor from a major party.

"I want every little girl listening or watching to know this is possible," said Whaley.

Whaley won the nomination with about 65% of the vote from the just under half a million Democrats who cast a ballot. She believed voters realized she and her running mate – Cuyahoga County Council member Cheryl Stephens – represent change.

"I think they are frustrated with losing, right, and we know we have to do something different as a party and running someone that is a woman, that is working class, and what I’ve seen traveling the state is story after story about how people are worried about the future of this state, the future of their families and the future of their communities and I think that resonated with the fact that they do deserve better," said Whaley.

It had been a tough contest between Whaley and her primary opponent, former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. But Cranley conceded and immediately threw his support behind Whaley.

"She ran a great campaign and is a very good person. And we have a lot going on in this state and this country and I hope people stay involved through November," said Cranley.

As for Whaley, she said she is up to the challenge and can raise the funds needed to go up against her opponent, Republican incumbent Mike DeWine.

"Mike DeWine has been on the ballot for 46 years since I’ve been alive and they know what they’ve got with him. And if they think everything is going great in Ohio, they know that’s their vote but if they want something different, we are offering that," said Whaley.

For his part, DeWine easily won over his three challengers who campaigned against his record during his first term in office, especially over the decisions he made during the pandemic. DeWine didn’t get a simple majority of the overall vote, however he lead his closest competitor by more than 20 points.

"Elections are about the future. And that’s what this election is about. And my commitment to the state of Ohio as we travel around the rest of this year and this campaign, we will continue to articulate a vision for this state about where we intend to take this state," said DeWine.

DeWine touts economic achievements like the planned Intel semiconductor chip processing plant for central Ohio and said the state is poised to land even more development in the future.

"I am so optimistic about the future in this state. This is our time. This is our time in history. We are seeing companies come off the east coast, come off the west coast. They are tired of the high cost of living. They are tired of high taxes, high regulations, they are coming to Ohio," said DeWine.

During his election night watch party, the incumbent was joined by his running mate, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

DeWine defeated his Republican challengers which included former Congressman Jim Renacci, central Ohio farmer Joe Blystone, and former state representative Ron Hood.

DeWine and Whaley have interacted with each other in the past. They've appeared at press conferences together after the 2019 mass shooting in Dayton. Whaley supported DeWine's efforts to increase gun regulations. DeWine has shifted away from that agenda and has instead signed more bills that lift gun restrictions, which drew strong criticism from Whaley.

Both candidates have said they believe abortion rights and gun regulations will likely be key issues in the general election.

Contact Jo Ingles at
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