COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Republican incumbents are sweeping statewide races in Ohio.
John Kasich coasted to re-election as Ohio’s governor by defeating Cleveland Democrat Ed FitzGerald amid early indications turnout was low across the state.
Kasich’s victory was expected after campaign missteps by FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County executive, left him seriously behind in polls and fundraising.
FitzGerald’s troubles and the lack of a U.S. Senate race or any statewide ballot issues were among factors keeping people from the polls.
The 62-year-old Kasich’s approval ratings dropped after he lost a 2011 collective-bargaining battle against public employee unions, but FitzGerald’s weakened campaign was unable to serve as an effective mouthpiece to remind voters of that and push other Democratic issues.
Kasich ran on his record of job creation and his efforts to rein in Ohio government spending and cut taxes.
Mike DeWine fought back a challenge by Cincinnati lawyer David Pepper to win a second term as Ohio’s attorney general.
As a former state lawmaker, Ohio lieutenant governor and U.S. senator, DeWine is among Ohio’s most well-known politicians.
Pepper is a former city councilman and Hamilton County commissioner, and he ran an aggressive campaign against DeWine.
He criticized DeWine for a host of actions. Those included awarding lucrative state business to the inexperienced firm of a friend, personally interfering in an internal sexual harassment investigation and delaying release of store video after a high-profile Wal-Mart shooting.
None of it stuck.
DeWine’s campaign emphasized the former prosecutor’s get-tough approach to corruption and fraud and progress in addressing a backlog of untested rape kits.
Dave Yost defeated Democrat John Patrick Carney to win a second term as Ohio’s state auditor.
Yost had been seen as one of the year’s most vulnerable incumbents, after winning by a narrow margin four years ago.
He elevated the office’s profile during his four-year term through efforts to audit Republican Gov. John Kasich’s privatized job-creation office, JobsOhio, and through a statewide investigation of potential attendance tampering at public schools across Ohio.
Carney, a state representative from Columbus, called Yost’s enforcement efforts against publicly funded charter schools too weak.
At the same time, he touted his own legislative record as one of bipartisan cooperation and said he would bring that same spirit to the auditor’s office.
Yost is a lawyer and a former county prosecutor and journalist.
Josh Mandel defeated Democratic state Rep. Connie Pillich for a second term as Ohio’s treasurer.
Mandel successfully campaigned on his accomplishments of investing safely and cutting office costs. His win Tuesday came in one of the year’s most competitive contests.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown had defeated Mandel two years ago after a bruising campaign. Revelations during that race that Mandel hired friends into state jobs and repeatedly failed to attend meetings of a key board he chaired contributed to his loss and were seen as advantageous to Pillich.
But Mandel, of suburban Cleveland, outraised Pillich and used the money to run more than 1,500 ads — many showcasing his service in the U.S. Marines and home life with his young family.