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Commentary: Ohio could set stage for 2012 election

Cartwheels. That’s what I was doing Tuesday night and early Wednesday in my living room due to the excitement and chaos that was enveloping my television screen.

The Republican primary in Ohio had turned into a too-close-to-call battle between former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Rommey and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

I was doing cartwheels because I was witnessing and writing about history. I know my home state is usually split when it comes to candidates, but the race was not able to be called with 80 percent of precincts reporting. Then 90 percent. Then Tuesday became Wednesday.

Political analysts and pundits seemed to mostly agree: whoever won, would ride the Buckeye State momentum to the nominating convention.

With Romney barely pulling out the win here, it is clear that Ohio will matter in a big way in November. President Barack Obama and his campaign team had to be watching closely, and I’m sure they were rejoicing at how split Ohio’s citizens were.

One-in-four Ohioans voted on Super Tuesday, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s office. That means 75 percent of all Ohioans did not visit the polls.

Experts and officials say the low voter turnout is due to the low energy of the Republican Party. Others say some Republicans did not show up at the polls due to negative advertising damaging the Republican brand. Either way – Republican, Democrat, Independent, who cares what party you are – this year will change the future of America, and if Tuesday night into Wednesday morning did not show it, I don’t know what will.

Ohio State’s Columbus campus has the largest number of students in one area in the state. Do you think Obama spoke to a group of OSU students on the Oval in 2010 by coincidence? Was it an accident when Vice President Joe Biden visited a Columbus high school in January to speak about the cost of higher education, something that appeals to many OSU students?

I have no doubt that Romney or Santorum will be back, perhaps on campus, later this year as Election Day gets closer.

And they should because everyone is looking.

No, everyone is staring.

Our voice, this state, our citizens, matter.

Ohio could very well decide who the next leader of our country is … and which political party will be doing cartwheels in November.

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