In the latest installment of his longstanding political tradition, Mike DeWine finished his campaign for Ohio governor where he always ends his races: the dining room of Young’s Jersey Dairy packed with supporters chanting “Go, Mike! Go!”
Whether Tuesday’s general election will turn out like it did in 2006, when he lost his U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Sherrod Brown, or like 2010, when he first beat now-governor candidate Richard Cordray to become attorney general, is unclear.
But for a moment, surrounded by his cohort of grandkids and campaign staff, at the restaurant where he fell in love with his wife Fran, and flanked by nearly all of Ohio’s Republican slate and their spouses, it seemed DeWine had finally reached the apex of the career he began when first elected as Greene County prosecutor in 1976.
“You’re going to elect two people with deep, deep roots to the Miami Valley,” said DeWine, of Cedarville, of himself and running-mate Jon Husted, the secretary of state who formerly represented Kettering in the Ohio House. “When I’m elected, I will be the first person from the Miami Valley to be elected governor of Ohio since Governor (James M.) Cox 100 years ago.”
“This state is moving forward, and my vision for this state is one that keeps moving,” DeWine said. “I truly believe that, starting when I was a county prosecuting attorney, I’ve prepared my whole life for this job.”
“Get us across the line tomorrow,” he told the crowd after acknowledging he was the only thing between them and a homemade milkshake (DeWine, himself, opted for strawberry). “Get us over that line. If you do that for us, we will work just as hard as we have over the last two years to get to that office.”
Whether he will actually cross that line and become governor-elect is anyone’s guess, given how razor thin the polling has been in this race. Earlier in the day, the political forecasting outfit Sabato’s Crystal Ball predicted the race in favor of Cordray. Bluntly, DeWine’s running mate simply said, “it boils down to who wants it more. Every single time, it matters who wants it more.”
“It’s been a tough campaign,” said Husted, standing next to his wife, Tina. “This could be the closest governor’s race in the country.”
DeWine’s event, a staple of the GOP political circuit as much as his summer ice cream social, was a who’s-who of local and state Republican candidates and officeholders, many seeking to replace each other in Columbus. Attendees included outgoing Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, who is running to replace DeWine as attorney general, along with state Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, who seeks to replace Husted as secretary of state, and state Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, who seeks to replace Yost as auditor. State Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, who is running for state treasurer, Ohio Supreme Court Justice Mary DeGenaro and U.S. Rep. Mike Turner, R-Dayton, also campaigned at the event.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, his wife Jane, and Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken were also in attendance.
Elsewhere in the Miami Valley, Cordray hosted a rally in Dayton with his running mate Betty Sutton.
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