The 2018 primary election is just days away, and all eyes are on the candidates looking to replace John Kasich as Ohio’s governor.
New polling numbers from Baldwin Wallace University shed some light on what to expect in Tuesday’s primary. For Republicans, a majority of voters — 52% — say they will vote for Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine for Governor. Ohio’s Lieutenant Governor, the only other GOP candidate in the running, had support from about 24% of voters.
As for the Democrats, polling data shows former Consumer Finance Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray leads all candidates with about 31% of the vote. Former representative Dennis Kucinich came in second with about 15% of the vote. State Senator Joe Schiavoni and former Ohio Supreme court justice Bill O’Neill each have about 6% of the vote. With that said, more than 40% of Democrats said they’re just not sure who they will cast their ballot for yet.
DeWine, the Republican frontrunner, said he is running because he thinks he can make a difference for Ohio families.
“This is a great state with a great future. But we have a couple big problems,” DeWine said. “One is the drug problem. If we don’t get in front of it, nothing else is going to matter.”
DeWine wants to combat the opioid epidemic with education.
“Do something that is done in very few schools in this country and that is start in kindergarten and do something age-appropriate,” he said.
DeWine also supports using scientifically-proven approaches to help fight the drug problem.
Lt. Gov. Taylor didn’t snag the endorsement of the GOP, but she said it’s Republican voters, not party leaders, who will decide who becomes the next governor.
“When I entered this race, I knew that I would not have equal resources,” Taylor said, citing DeWine’s extensive political career in Ohio. “We need to take our message directly to the voters of the state of Ohio and we know when we do that we win.”
Cordray, the frontrunner for the Democrats, said his campaign is about delivering practical results for Ohioans.
“For us, the campaign will be about the kitchen-table issues and the things that matter most to people in Ohio,” Cordray said. “It is health care, it is education, it is getting that better job. It is being able to put money aside for retirement.”
Cordray and his running mate, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton, say their experience in the legislature is a strong point for their campaign because they know how to get things done.
“There are two ways to get things done,” Cordray said. “There are things when you have to stand and fight, and there are places where you have to work across the aisle to get things done.”
Kucinich, who represented Ohio in Congress and served as mayor in Cleveland, said he is ready to fight for Ohioans.
“I have the ability to stand up and speak out and take on interest groups that are not working for or with the people,” Kucinich said. “Our campaign is about unity and diversity and joy and energy. It is inclusive.”
O’Neill made headlines late last year when he posted about his former sexual exploits on Facebook and is running on a platform of legalizing marijuana, prison reform and healthcare.
“I’m running on marijuana, prisons and hospitals. More hospitals and less prisons,” O’Neill said.
When asked about how hard it would be to legalize marijuana in Ohio, O’Neill wasn’t worried about it.
“In 2015, there was all kinds of polling that showed the people were for legalization and they did not like the proposal that made the 10 cartels the billionaires.”
Schiavoni, a state senator from Youngstown, says his campaign is about improving the quality of life for all Ohioans.
I think there are some core issues that we need to hit: jobs, schools, safe communities,” he said. “Those applied to everybody wherever I go and those are all the bills I’ve worked on for the past eight years.”