Is Ohio a red state? Midterms may have changed state’s status as swing state

Ohio’s reputation as a moderate, purple state may be over after this year’s midterm election.

The GOP saw several victories Tuesday in Ohio, including Republican Mike DeWine defeating Democrat Rich Cordray for governor and Republicans winning attorney general, treasurer, secretary of state and auditor seats. Republicans also won all Dayton region congressional and Ohio House seats.

And after a year of heavy anti-President Donald Trump sentiment across the nation, Cedarville professor of political science Mark Caleb Smith said the results are an indication that Ohio is moving more toward the right, away from its moderate status.

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“The Republicans did well at the state level, at the general assembly. You’d think that if there was going to be a year that the Democrats were going to break through in Ohio at all levels, it would have been this year,” he said. “The fact that it didn’t happen this year, I think, is going to cause the Democratic party to really question its strategy over the next few years.”

But Democrats did have some victories, including the re-election of Sen. Sherrod Brown and gaining 27 seats for control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

As states like Texas, Georgia and Virginia begin turning purple and leaning left is some instances, Ohio didn’t follow the trend, Smith said.

“Especially in the U.S. House, you saw some of those suburban house seats similar to those that we have here in Ohio…you see them flipped to the Democratic party, and that did not happen in Ohio,” Smith said. “The world is changing politically and last night is a good indicator of it.”

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The outcome of the 2018 midterm election could continue to grow the divide in the country, especially with the divided government of a GOP-controlled senate and Democrat-controlled House, Smith said.

One of the largest divides is between urban and rural environments, with Ohio’s cities leaning more left and rural communities turning redder. And the more moderate suburban residents have tended to vote Republican in recent elections.

Of the past 40 governors, 18 have been Democrats, but Democrats have only held the governor seat four years since 1991.

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