Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Mike DeWine was elected Governor of Ohio Tuesday night, keeping the Ohio governorship in Republican hands.

Dubbed as one of the closest governor’s races in the country, DeWine, attorney general under Governor John Kasich, won by 7 percentage points over Democrat Richard Cordray.

“I want to thank the people of Ohio for the trust and confidence they’ve placed in us tonight. Tonight‘s victory is about moving Ohio forward,” DeWine said in a statement. “We are energized by the support you’ve shown us, and we will not let you down.”

The race was a close-call from the start. As of Tuesday, Fivethirtyeight, a political polling website, had a prediction model with the race listed as a toss-up, giving Cordray a slight 3 in 5 chance of winning.

“From our point of view it’s been a pretty pleasant surprise,” Nick Frankowski, president of Ohio State College Republicans said. “Richard Cordray was a tough candidate and he ran a good race.”

The race contended with a number of issues, with both candidates forced to take stances on pertinent issues in Ohio, such as the opioid epidemic and health care coverage.

DeWine has some issues to address head-on. He has faced disapproval for what opponents have called a wavering stance on health care. The current attorney general sided with other Republicans in repealing Obamacare by filing a lawsuit in 2011, but announced in a series of ad campaigns his support for getting those with pre-existing conditions health care.

DeWine also focused on support for law enforcement, denouncing Issue 1 and expanding job training.

Cordray, former state attorney general, focused on health care and addressing the opioid crisis that is rocking Ohio and the Midwest.

Opponents of Cordray pointed to his lack of efficiency in handling state crime and criminal justice during his term as attorney general. A major criticism was thousands of rape kits that went untested until DeWine took over the office.

Both candidates capitalized on last-minute campaign stops in Ohio with big-name politicians.

Cordray has made a big presence on campus by inviting former Vice President Joe Biden to Sloopy’s for a surprise visit and hosting a pop-up campaign rally with U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren Nov. 1.

Unlike Cordray, DeWine didn’t make a campus appearance. However, the attorney general has made stops around Ohio with Vice President Mike Pence and U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham.

“Being a college campus and being a big city like Columbus it’s obviously not hardcore republican territory,” Frankowski said. “Those of us who are interested in voting for DeWine were gonna vote for him regardless if he came to campus.”

This is not the first time the two seasoned politicians have faced each other. In 2010, DeWine unseated Cordray for his incumbency as attorney general. DeWine, using similar tactics in this race, dencounced Cordray for his lenient handlings of criminal prosecutions and negligence with state crime labs.

Both DeWine and Cordray are experienced politicians.

With almost a 50-year career in politics, DeWine has served on both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, and was Lt. Governor of Ohio. DeWine is known for being fiscally conservative, tough on crime and anti-abortion.

In addition to being attorney general, Cordray has served as both Franklin County and Ohio Treasurer. Cordray’s most noted political accomplishments came with his serving as the first-ever director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Appointed by former President

Barack Obama and U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren, Cordray gained national recognition for fighting against corporate greed and returning billions of dollars to citizens who had been cheated by corporations.

The stakes are high for inheriting the highest office in Ohio. DeWine will be called upon to provide solutions for the opioid epidemic, determining a future for health care provisions and the ever-increasing political tension.