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Ohio State, Franklin County watch parties largely unsurprised by midterm election results

Members of the Ohio State community and beyond were watching as the Republican Party saw wins in every major category of Ohio’s midterm elections Tuesday.

Gov. John Kasich was elected to a second term in the Ohio midterm election. He ran with Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, representing the Republican party.

Ed FitzGerald, a Cuyahoga County executive, ran for governor with attorney Sharen Neuhardt for lieutenant governor, representing the Democratic party. Anita Rios ran with co-chair of the Ohio and Franklin County Green Parties Bob Fitrakis, representing the Green Party.

The election also included statewide executive office positions, the Ohio General Assembly, state representatives, the state Board of Education, county offices and judicial offices.

Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine won the attorney general race against attorney David Pepper, who represented the Democratic party.

Secretary of State Jon Husted, representing the Republican party, was re-elected. He ran against:

  • Democrat Nina Turner, the state senate minority whip
  • Libertarian Kevin Knedler, state party chair

Republican State Auditor Dave Yost won re-election as well, running against:

  • Democrat John Patrick Carney, a state representative
  • Libertarian Bob Bridges, state party vice chair

State treasurer Josh Mandel, representing the Republican party, won re-election against Democrat Connie Pillich, a state representative.

 

Franklin County Republican Party watch event:

The Woody Hayes Grand Ballroom of the Renaissance Columbus Downtown Hotel was filled with about 500 Republicans of all ages, ranging from children to students, young professionals and adults of varying fields, on Tuesday night.

With the announcement of Kasich’s re-election coming shortly after the polls closed at 7:30 p.m., the atmosphere was positive and confident throughout the evening, and the crowd started celebrating. Country music played loudly every moment when people weren’t speaking.

Re-elected officials took to the stage to express their thanks and speak of Ohio’s future. One by one, winners were announced and concession videos from the opposing side played on projector screens for everyone to watch.

Students from the Columbus area and beyond attended the watch party.

Aubyn Hines, a first-year in political science at Mt. Vernon Nazarene University, is a member of the university’s College Republicans organization. Although mostly involved in local government affairs, Hines said she drove almost an hour with her boyfriend and fellow student at Mt. Vernon Nazarene, Alex Lansangan, for this event. “I’m here for the experience,” Hines said.

Jordan Stacy, a second-year in agricultural communications at OSU, said she attended the event to celebrate. “It’s a really big event, and great time to celebrate both the Republican party and Ohio moving forward. Ohio is going red and hopefully soon the Senate does too,” Stacy said.

Kevin Arndt, 2012-13 OSU Undergraduate Student Government vice president, said he attended to foster his interest in politics and government.

“This is a great opportunity to enjoy the atmosphere and strong company. The results are a statement of where we are and the change people want to see statewide,” Arndt said.

Arndt currently works for Strategic Public Partners, a government relations company, and said the event was “nothing but successful for the Republican Party.”

 

OSU student watch party:

About 60 students gathered at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs to watch the results come in on a large projection screen. The event was hosted with the Politics, Society and Law scholars.

Juliana Wishne, a third-year in political science and a Democrat, said even though the night didn’t go in her party’s favor, she attended the watch party to relive the moment when President Barack Obama was re-elected in 2012.

“It was a really great night, so this is us trying to relive that, even though it’s not really going in our favor,” she said. “Compared to 2012, it’s not as fun of a watch party but I’m still glad I’m here and it’s still fun to watch.”

Parker Mooney, a second-year in international studies, said he was interested in the election because of the possibility of the Republicans taking control of the United States Senate.

“This election has a lot of weight with it because there may be a big shift in power that hasn’t come since 2010 when the Republicans took of the House,” he said. “There are also a lot of close races and a lot of races where a few months ago people thought it was one candidate, but now it’s pretty much a toss up.”

Republicans cinched the Senate majority, according to the Associated Press.

 

Faculty weigh in:

OSU faculty experts gathered in the Ohio Union on Tuesday to provide Election Day analyses and opinions. Although a diverse group of faculty and staff experts from OSU’s Moritz College of Law were available as resources on election information, at least one expert at least one expert was doubtful any of the statewide races would be close.

“The governor’s race is going to be a cakewalk,” said OSU law professor Daniel P. Tokaji. “I would be shocked if Governor (John) Kasich weren’t re-elected.”

Election Law at Moritz is a nonpartisan research, education and outreach program run by OSU’s Moritz College of Law, according to the program’s website. Tokaji, an OSU law professor for 11 years and senior fellow of Election Law at Moritz, said a decreased student Election Day turnout might have contributed to the ease with which he predicted a Kasich win.

“When I came in today, there was not a single person standing outside the room. If you go back two years ago, people were lined up not only in the hallway, but all the way down the hall to the end of the building … then out the door, all day. So I think that’s an indication, at least here, (that) student turnout is going to be way, way down compared to 2012,” Tokaji said at Tuesday’s event.

More, Tokaji said that if OSU’s student Election Day participation were any indication of nationwide college student participation, it was bad news for Democrats.

“We all know students (are), not exclusively, of course, but overwhelmingly Democratic,” Tokaji said.

 

College Republicans, College Democrats reactions:

Sam Zuidema, chairman of OSU College Republicans and a fourth-year in history and political science, said it was clear Kasich was going to win.

“All of the Republican statewide office holders have been doing a fantastic job,” he said. “And most of them were going into this election very confident … Ed FitzGerald’s not much of an opponent, I think his campaign really kind of struggled, and Kasich’s campaign didn’t face many of those struggles at all, his campaign was pretty flawless.”

Zuidema said Kasich has and will continue to take proactive measures to help college students upon graduation.

“He’s really been pushing modernization, and diversification of Ohio’s economy, allowing young people to find a niche in the economy and to stay in Ohio,” Zuidema said.

Michael Lakomy, a second-year in accounting and the political director for OSU College Democrats, said although FitzGerald lost, the race opened up room for discussion.

We always knew this was going to be a tough election but what’s really great is that this race has begun to open conversation with Ohioans about the way that Kasich has hurt the economy and that Kasich’s plans are hurting Ohioans in everything from women’s rights to voting rights. And so we’re heading into a new legislative session rather than just elections,” Lakomy said.

“It’s always hard to beat an incumbent, and it’s always hard to beat an incumbent when the economy is getting stronger.”

 

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