Politics of Ohio
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Political control of Ohio has oscillated between the two major parties. Republicans outnumber Democrats in Ohio government. The governor, John Kasich, is a Republican, as are all other non-judicial statewide elected officials: Lieutenant Governor of Ohio Mary Taylor, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Ohio State Auditor Dave Yost, Ohio Secretary of State Jon A. Husted and Ohio State Treasurer Josh Mandel.
In the Ohio State Senate the Republicans have firm control (24-9), and in the Ohio House of Representatives the Republicans control the delegation (66-33). The Ohio Congressional Delegation is mostly Republican as well; twelve representatives are Republicans while four are Democrats. One U.S. senator, Rob Portman, is a Republican, while the other, Sherrod Brown, is a Democrat. Most of the mayors of the ten largest cities in the state (Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Youngstown, Canton, Parma, Lorain) are Democrats. The Republicans are strongest in the rural Northwest, the affluent Cincinnati and Columbus suburbs, and have been making gains in Appalachian Southeast Ohio over the past decade. The Democrats rely on the state's major cities as well as Northeast Ohio.
Due to a close split in party registration and its historical electoral importance, Ohio was considered a key battleground state in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election. The state was vital to President George W. Bush's re-election chances, because he won there by nearly four points in 2000 and because no Republican has ever been elected President without winning Ohio (Coffey et al. 2011). In that election, Bush won the state with 51% of the vote, giving him its 20 electoral votes and the margin he needed in the Electoral College for re-election. The state was fiercely contested in 2008 and 2012 as well, with President Barack Obama winning narrowly on both occasions. Since Republicans started winning elections, Ohio has voted with the winning candidate except for Grover Cleveland in both 1884 and 1892, Franklin D Roosevelt in 1944 and John F Kennedy in 1960.
In addition, Ohio's electoral vote total has been declining for decades. For the 2012 election it had 18 electoral votes, down from 21 in 2000 and down from a peak of 26 in 1968. Ohio now has its fewest electoral votes since 1828, when it cast 16. The state cast 3.71 percent of all electoral votes in 2004, the smallest percentage since it cast 3.40 percent of the votes in 1820. Ohio lost two electoral votes after the results of the 2010 United States Census, leaving it with 18 electoral votes for the presidential elections in 2012, 2016 and 2020.
Ohio's large population has long made the state a major influence in politics. Seven presidents have hailed from Ohio, all Republicans: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William Howard Taft and Warren G. Harding. Since 1964 the state has been a perfect Bellwether in predicting the outcome of presidential elections.
The General Assembly, with the approval of the governor, draws the U.S. congressional district lines for Ohio's 16 seats in the United States House of Representatives. The Ohio Apportionment Board draws state legislative district lines.
- Government of Ohio
- Elections in Ohio
- Political Party Strength in Ohio
- Coffey, Daniel J., John C. Green, David B. Cohen and Stephen C. Brooks. 2011. Buckeye Battleground: Ohio, Campaigns and Elections in the Twenty-First Century. Akron, OH: University of Akron Press