2018 Gov race: Ohio leaning Republican; Dayton mayor strong for Dems

University of Virginia’s political guru predicts GOP likely to hold governor’s office in 2018, but says Dayton’s Nan Whaley among strongest Democratic contenders


Look into political guru Larry Sabato’s crystal ball and you see Ohio likely electing a Republican governor in 2018 but two Dems look like credible challengers including Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and former northeastern Ohio Congresswoman Betty Sutton.

Related: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley ‘considering’ run for governor

“Ohio turned sharply toward the GOP in 2016, and Republicans have a stronger field of candidates at the moment. At this early point, Leans Republican seems appropriate, though the environment will obviously matter,” according to Sabato’s Crystal Ball, a publication of the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

The report, released Thursday, says Ohio Republicans have a “strong bench” with Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci as contenders.

Related: Mary Taylor signals she’s running for governor

Related: Renacci jumps into governor’s race with ‘Ohio First’ slogan

Democrats who have either declared they’re running or have expressed interest include former state representative Connie Pillich, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, and Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

“Sutton and Whaley are probably the two most credible candidates in that group. Looming in the background is Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, a former state attorney general and treasurer who may only run if Trump fires him from his current job, as well as former Rep. Dennis Kucinich,” the report says.

The full report from Sabato can be found here.

Whaley, who is running unopposed for mayor this year, has a fundraiser scheduled for May 8, her political committee bought online ads asking supporters if she should join the governor’s race, and the website domain “Whaley for Ohio” has been anonymously registered.

Related: Mike DeWine confirms run for Ohio governor in 2018

Husted, who represented Kettering in the Ohio General Assembly, said he has yet to decide when he’ll announce his plans for 2018.

Related: DeWine, Husted each have $2.5 million on hand for 2018 run



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