COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley were projected primary winners by the Associated Press Tuesday, positioning them to compete for Ohio’s gubernatorial seat in the November general election.
The incumbent in the race, DeWine, 74, defeated his three primary challengers, former northeast Ohio congressman Jim Renacci, Canal Winchester farmer Joe Blystone and former state lawmaker Ron Hood.
DeWine’s political career began in 1980 when he was elected to serve in the Ohio State Senate, and he gradually climbed the ranks to become Ohio’s lieutenant governor, U.S. Senator for the state of Ohio and Ohio’s attorney general.
Since his election in 2018, DeWine has overseen Ohio’s COVID-19 response, making national headlines as an “early lone wolf” for being the first governor in the U.S. to shut down schools to limit the spread of the virus.
Watch: Mike DeWine on election results
The country’s ninth-most popular governor, DeWine has been criticized by both parties but can point to bipartisan victories.
Accomplishments noted on his campaign website include economic development, like helping to bring the $20 billion Intel factory to Licking County, tax cuts for Ohioans, chipping away at abortion access and relaxing some gun restrictions, including removing a permit for concealed carry weapons.
DeWine’s State of the State address delivered in March offered a glimpse into the governor’s future priorities in office, including doubling down on his support for law enforcement and investing in the state’s mental health infrastructure.
The Associated Press also projected Whaley, 46, as the winner of Ohio’s Democratic gubernatorial primary around 8:50 p.m. Tuesday, defeating former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley.
She has served as Dayton’s mayor since 2013, where she made headlines during two nationally-known events in 2019: A mass shooting that left nine people dead and 27 injured and a tornado outbreak that injured 166.
Watch: Nan Whaley on facing Mike DeWine
Whaley’s top policy proposal is her jobs plan, which would invest in new technologies, raise wages and try to spread growth to struggling corners of the state like the northeast and Appalachia.
As the only gubernatorial candidate with a life-long record of supporting reproductive rights, Whaley pledged to veto any anti-abortion legislation that arrives on her desk at the statehouse, according to her campaign website.
Backed by U.S Senator Sherrod Brown, Whaley also touted her support for anti-corruption measures, including closing dark money loopholes that allowed FirstEnergy to offer millions of dollars worth of bribes to Ohio lawmakers in exchange for the passage of House Bill 6.
Whaley is campaigning alongside running mate Cheryl Stephens, CEO of the East Akron Neighborhood Development Corporation and former mayor of Cleveland Heights.