The Republican wall that has stood in state capitals for much of the past decade now has a few holes in it. Democrats flipped control of seven gubernatorial offices and about a half-dozen state legislative chambers in Tuesday’s first midterm elections of President Donald Trump’s tenure.
Some of the biggest wins for Democrats came in the Midwest, where they defeated Republican Governors. Scott Walker in Wisconsin and Bruce Rauner in Illinois and picked up open Republican governor’s seats in Michigan and Kansas. Democrats also flipped control of governor’s offices being vacated by Republicans in Maine, Nevada and New Mexico.
Democrats did not share in that success in Ohio.
Richard Cordray’s bid for the governor’s office came up short as did Democratic candidates for Attorney General, Auditor, Secretary of State and Treasurer.
Republicans have dominated recent statewide elections in Ohio, capped by Republican Donald Trump’s decisive 8-point victory for president over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.
While voter turnout surged to more than 50 percent, Ohio State University political scientist Paul Beck says it surged for both Democrats and Republicans. Beck says Democrats struggle to motivate their base for midterm elections. “Usually the falloff is among groups that are generally pro-democratic so we’re talking about young people and minorities and I suspect that once the dust settles, we will find that that happened again in 2018,” Beck said.
Election analyst Mike Dawson said given the recent history of midterms in Ohio, the results were not a surprise. He said grouping the six largest counties together, Democrats won by 20 points. Grouping the other 82 counties together, Republicans won by 22 points.