Ohio stays red in statewide elections, national “red wave” falls short

Pictured is the Ohio flag. Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Zoë Hill Print Editor-in-Chief

Republicans solidified Ohio as a red state, but the expected “red wave” didn’t sweep the midterms as many anticipated.

Former Dayton Mayor and University of Dayton alumni Nan Whaley took on incumbent Republican Governor Mike DeWine. She lost the bid statewide in a 26-point margin, only garnering nearly 1.5 million votes to DeWine’s over 2.5 million. 

Whaley won three of Ohio’s 88 counties — Cuyahoga, Franklin and Athens — which encompass Democratic, urban areas like Cleveland, Columbus and Athens. Whaley lost Montgomery County where she served as mayor for seven years and currently resides. 

Whaley called DeWine on election night to congratulate him and conceded the race. 

“This is obviously not the result we were hoping for,” she said in her concession speech. “Even when we don’t get the outcome we hoped for, it’s vital that we respect our democracy.”

As the first woman nominated for Ohio governor, the former mayor’s campaign focused on abortion rights and her ability to be the last line of defense for reproductive rights for Ohio if she were to be governor, she told Flyer News in March. 

“We’re going to hear from folks that it’s time to write off Ohio as some backwater where extremism is just the way things are, but I refuse to accept that,” Whaley said.

“You can keep working for something better, even when you get knocked down,” she added.

DeWine’s win marks his 13th election victory in his political career. He will serve as governor for the state for the next four years. 

J.D. Vance, Middletown native and bestselling author of “Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis,” beat out Democrat Tim Ryan for Senator Rob Portman’s seat in Congress. Portman retired after serving 11 years in the Senate.

The race was close throughout the campaign period, but election night results favored Vance by a 6-point margin. 

Former President Donald Trump endorsed Vance and spent the final campaign day in Dayton to rally for Vance. 

Nationwide, a “red wave” was expected. Midterm elections historically favor the party not in power in the White House. This led political scientists, pundits, candidates and voters to believe the Republicans would flip a good number of seats across the country. 

While some races are still uncalled, NBC projected Saturday that Nevada’s Senate seat would go to Democratic incumbent Catherine Cortez Masto, making the Senate seat tally 50 for Democrats and 49 for Republicans. 

The only outstanding Senate race was Georgia’s contest between Democratic incumbent Raphael Warnock and former NFL running back Hershel Walker. Due to state election laws, Georgia will hold a runoff election on Dec. 6 with the two candidates because neither one received more than 50% of the vote. Georgia runoffs determined control of the Senate in 2020 with Democrats Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning both of Georgia’s seats. 

Despite the outcome of Georgia’s December runoff, Democrats will control the Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris serves as President of the Senate and holds the tie-breaking vote for the Democrats. 

The count for the House of Representatives continues to narrow as more races are called. Instead of massive gains, Republicans may only take control of the House by one to five seats, according to projections from ABC News, New York Times and NBC News.

Charts created by Hill using Google Flourish.

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