In a contest that came down to the wire, President Barack Obama succeeded in retaining the presidency for four more years. With Florida still too close to call, Obama prevailed in both the popular vote and the electoral college vote – winning at least 303 of the 270 needed electoral college votes. President Obama also won Ohio’s 18 electoral college votes; winning in Ohio by about 2 percent, garnering 50 percent of the vote to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 48 percent. Proving to be as important as candidates and pundits alike predicted, the win in Ohio was key in winning Obama the presidency – Ohio’s 18 votes pushed him over the crucial 270 electoral college vote mark. Ohio has voted for the winning candidate in every presidential election since 1964, the longest current streak in the nation.
Sherrod Brown wins U.S. Senate race
Democrat U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown held off Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel to retain his seat in the U.S. Senate. Brown, a longtime Congressman from Cleveland, garnered just over 50 percent of the vote to Mandel’s 45 percent. Brown consistently polled ahead of Mandel during one of the most expensive and contentious races in the country. The candidates raised nearly $40 million and spent more than $30 million, with outside interest groups also spending more than $30 million. Also, with Democrat Elizabeth Warren’s victory over Republican Senator Scott Brown of Massachusetts, Senate Democrats were able to increase their majority by at least one seat, with 52 Democrats, 44 Republicans, two Independents and two races still too close to call.
Republicans maintain control of U.S. House
As in the rest of the nation, Republicans did well in the U.S. House races in Ohio, with Republicans taking 12 seats to the Democrats’ four seats. This session sees a slightly reduced Ohio delegation, with only 16 seats — down from 18 seats because of the changing population demographics. Overall, Republicans were successful in taking 232 seats. Democrats hold 185 seats, with 18 races still too close to call.
In Ohio, the U.S. House winners are:
- 1st District: Steve Chabot (R)
- 2nd District: Brad Wenstrup (R)
- 3rd District: Joyce Beatty (D)
- 4th District: Jim Jordan (R)
- 5th District: Bob Latta (R)
- 6th District: Bill Johnson (R)
- 7th District: Bob Gibbs (R)
- 8th District: John Boehner (R)
- 9th District: Marcy Kaptur (D)
- 10th District: Mike Turner (R)
- 11th District: Marcia Fudge (D)
- 12th District: Pat Tiberi (R)
- 13th District: Tim Ryan (D)
- 14th District: David Joyce (R)
- 15th District: Steve Stivers (R)
- 16th District: Jim Renacci (R)
Republicans maintain control of Ohio House and Senate
With only one confirmed loss, Republicans maintained their comfortable majority in the Ohio House with three races still too close to call. Incumbent Representative Casey Kozlowski (R-Pierpont) in the 99th District, a surprise winner in 2010, was defeated by Democratic challenger John Patterson. But Republicans picked up the formerly Democrat-held seat in Mansfield, when Mark Romanchuk, owner of a local manufacturing plant, beat Mansfield City Councilwoman Ellen Haring with nearly 58 percent of the vote. In those races too close to call, Representative Craig Newbold (R-Columbiana) appears to have lost to Democratic Columbiana County Treasurer Nick Barborak, Representative Al Landis (R-Dover) beat former Representative Josh O’Farrell and Representative Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) edged out former Representative Matt Patten – with all races within the margin for mandatory recounts. At current count, the Republicans will have at least 56 seats and the Democrats will have at least 40 seats.
The Senate races saw all 18 incumbents retain their seats, maintaining the Republican majority of 23 to 10 Democrats. However, the Senate will have a new President next session, as current Senate President Tom Niehaus (R-New Richmond) is leaving the chamber because of term limits. All expectations are that Senator Keith Faber (R-Celina), the current President Pro Tem, will step into the job in January.
Supreme Court shakeups
Two of Ohio’s Supreme Court Justices were unsuccessful in their re-election campaigns, with Justice Yvette McGee Brown falling to Republican challenger Sharon Kennedy and Justice Robert Cupp losing to Democrat challenger William O’Neill. Kennedy is a Court of Common Pleas Judge in Butler County, while O’Neill is a former appellate judge on the Ohio Eleventh District Court of Appeals. With McGee Brown’s loss, O’Neill is now the only Democrat in state government holding a statewide elected office.
Both ballot issues fail at the polls
Voters also decided against both ballot issues – with Issue 1 failing by about 68 percent and Issue 2 by about 63 percent. Issue 1, which asked whether the state should hold a constitutional convention to propose changes to the state constitution, is constitutionally required to appear on the ballot every 20 years. Opposed by Republicans and Democrats alike in favor of the Constitutional Modernization Commission currently overseen by Speaker Bill Batchelder (R-Medina) and Representative Vernon Sykes (D-Akron), this issue has failed each time it has been put before the people.
Issue 2 proposed an amendment to the Ohio Constitution that would have created a 12-member citizens’ commission, with equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and independents, to draw Ohio’s congressional and General Assembly lines beginning in 2014 and after every decennial census. Supporters believed the amendment created a fairer, more independent method for drawing new districts; while detractors believed the commission was unaccountable to taxpayers and their elected representatives, had “unusual and arbitrary eligibility rules,” and permanently installed an untested process into the state constitution. This issue is likely to be raised again in the legislature or another election. Several legislators and Secretary of State Jon Husted have long advocated for improvements to how districts are created.