2018 Election Preview

Two years ago, Ohio was the lynchpin that secured the presidency for Donald J. Trump. However, following a special election in August that saw Republican Sen. Troy Balderson win an open congressional seat in a district that has not elected a Democrat since 1980 by an uncharacteristically narrow margin, our state’s political climate looks to be friendly to Democrat candidates in a way we have not seen for a decade.

At the top of the ticket, Attorney General Mike DeWine is running against Rich Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general himself who most recently served as the head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau during the Obama administration. This race will be a rematch of the 2010 contest for attorney general that saw DeWine victorious by a narrow margin of 48 percent to 46 percent, and a similarly close, competitive race is expected this year.

DeWine and Cordray look to replace outgoing Gov. John Kasich, who himself is currently embroiled in a bitter feud with Pres. Trump over the soul of the GOP. Along with his running-mate, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, DeWine’s leadership in creating a healthier business climate for our state throughout his career has earned him the endorsement of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce Political Action Committee (OCCPAC).

Down the ticket, there are four additional open seats for each of the statewide executive offices: attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, and treasurer. OCCPAC endorsed candidates in the races for attorney general and secretary of state in both 2010 and 2014, but not for auditor or treasurer. That’s the same approach we’ve taken in 2018, as OCCPAC endorsed State Sen. Frank LaRose for secretary of state and Auditor Dave Yost for attorney general. Both candidates are the clear pro-business choices this fall.

For the past two decades, the Ohio Chamber has played a central role in raising awareness about the role and importance of the Ohio Supreme Court and in rallying the business community to help elect Supreme Court justices who refrain from judicial activism and legislating from the bench. This ensures a fair and predictable legal climate for entities that choose to do business in our state. In 2018, OCCPAC has endorsed Justice Mary DeGenaro and Appellate Judge Craig Baldwin to carry on this tradition.

In the Ohio General Assembly, House and Senate Republicans will put their super-majorities to the test against strong political headwinds. In the Senate, Democrats have three potential pick-up opportunities in districts that were carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016. Senate Democrats hope to narrow the GOP super-majority which stands at 24-9. There are also a handful of competitive races in the House for Democrats to start clawing away at the current 66-33 GOP majority. In addition to the individual races between the two parties, the outcomes in certain House races may determine whether Speaker Ryan Smith retains the gavel for the 133rd General Assembly or enough Republican candidates who support Rep. Larry Householder win and provide him with the necessary votes to supplant Smith.

More than the partisan make-up of the Ohio House or Senate, the Ohio Chamber is focused on is electing legislators that understand the concerns of Ohioans tasked with signing both the front and back of a paycheck. This year OCCPAC endorsed 76 candidates for the General Assembly, some Democrat, some Republican. If these pro-business candidates are elected on November 6th, the legislature can continue its work to strengthen Ohio’s business climate.

Whether requesting an absentee ballot ahead of time, or when you head to the polls on November 6th, be sure to vote for the pro-business candidates that will promote a business climate that allows your business to succeed, grow and create jobs.