Heated Ohio General Election Battle Brewing

The 2018 Ohio General Election battle is sure to be highly competitive all across the ballot with a heated race for Governor, all the statewide elected officials and members of the Ohio General Assembly.  As expected, Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine and former Obama Administration and former Ohio elected official Rich Cordray will face off in the Governor’s race.  Recent polling has the race neck-and-neck following a highly divisive Republican Primary for Governor and less than expected battle for Democrat Cordray to win the nomination.  Dewine holds a substantial fundraising advantage over Cordray according to Post Primary Election campaign finance reports filed with the Secretary of State’s office.  However, neither candidate for Governor of Ohio will face a shortage of money as independent expenditure committees and national interest in the race will no doubt flood the state with resources.  However, Dewine’s early fundraising lead could let him define Cordray sooner rather than later.

Even more interesting is the election fight for down-ticket races of State Auditor, Secretary of State, State Treasurer, and Attorney General.  Whether it is the current scandal with former Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger or a divisive President Donald Trump, the Democratic candidates for the down-ticket races are showing strong fundraising prowess as illustrated by the chart below.

Ohio Statewide Campaign Cash On Hand Post Primary 2018 Reports

CandidatePartyOffice SeekingCash on Hand
Mike DewineRepublicanGovernor$7.2 million
Rich CordrayDemocratGovernor$2.6 million
Dave YostRepublicanAttorney General$2.8 million
Steve Dettelbach DemocratAttorney General$2.7 million
Frank LaRoseRepublicanSecretary of State$900,329
Kathleen ClydeDemocratSecretary of State$1.2 million
Keith FaberRepublicanAuditor of State$785,421
Zach SpaceDemocratAuditor of State$605,196
Robert SpragueRepublicanTreasurer of State$252,841
Rob RichardsonDemocratTreasurer of State$609,421

The financial support of the Statewide Democrats illustrates both state and national interests believing 2018 may be a Democratic year.  This belief is based upon the intensity with which many Democrats and Independents in urban and suburban centers do not favor President Trump.  However, making this case more difficult is the fact that from a statewide perspective Donald Trump’s favorability-unfavorability numbers are tied at 49%-49% illustrating Trump’s strong support in the rural and struggling industrial centers across the Buckeye State.  In addition, the corruption investigation by the FBI of former Republican Speaker Cliff Rosenberger will be a central Democratic message as well.  However, the bribery conviction of a former State Treasurer official appointed and recommended by Rich Cordray will likely be a debate point for Republicans to counter the Rosenberger mess.  Another challenging factor for Ohio Democrats is that Ohioans by a 55%-45% margin believe the state is heading the right direction and the economy is booming with Republican leadership.  Other than a close Ohio General Election battle, no clarity was gained by the Ohio Primary Election.