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Will Ohio Stay Red?

AP Photo/Joe Maiorana

Once considered a purple state, Ohio has become more red, especially under the influence of former President Donald Trump, who won the state by nearly 8 percentage points in 2016 and just slightly over 8 percentage points in 2020. As the 2022 midterm elections approach, eyes are on multiple races in the state to see if Ohio truly is and will remain red. 

Gov. Mike DeWine (R) is seeking re-election, and it looks like he'll win that race, easily. DeWine's had a pretty good electoral history in Ohio. While his attorney general race was rather close in 2010, he won re-election handily in 2014, defeating the Democratic challenger by more than 20 percentage points. 

He won the Republican gubernatorial primary by almost 20 points in 2018, and then won the actual election by almost 4 percentage points. While DeWine did face a primary challenger back in May, he soundly won, by 20 points. 

Come November, DeWine is facing Nan Whaley. According to a Emerson College poll released on Wednesday, the governor is leading with 49 percent, a 16-point lead over his Democratic challenger's 13 percent. Eleven percent are undecided. 

That poll was conducted August 15-16 using 925 somewhat and very likely general election election voters, with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. 

It's not just one poll on DeWine's side, though. He's largely forecasted to win that race. Cook Political Report rates it as "Likely Republican," while Sabato's Crystal Ball considers it to be "Safe Republican," and Inside Elections even has it as "Solid Republican."

Further, according to data released last month by Morning Consult, DeWine is in the top half of most popular governors. 

The race that many are really interested in is watching to see who will replace the open seat being left by Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican who is retiring at the end of this term. He was first elected in 2010, having won that race to fill an open seat left by retiring Sen. George Voinovich. He won his first term by almost 18 percentage points, and then won re-election in 2016 by 21 points. 

As Guy predicted, JD Vance, the Republican nominee this time around, is not likely to win with such a margin, though he still thinks he'll pull it off, as it's too early to say otherwise. The race between him and the Democratic nominee, Rep. Tim Ryan, is considered much tighter. In a way, though, that's what makes it more fun to watch. 

Despite it being a close race, Vance is still favored to win. Cook Political Report has the race as "Lean Republican," while Sabato's Crystal Ball has it as "Likely Republican." Inside Elections even has it as "Solid Republican."

It's worth noting that for all the chatter about Rep. Ryan perhaps having a shot after all, Cook Political Report earlier in the week changed their ratings, with two out of the three changes favoring Democrats. 

Those races included changing Pennsylvania's open Senate seat from "Toss-Up" to "Lean Democratic" and Utah's Senate seat held by Sen. Mike Lee (R) from "Solid Republican" to "Likely Republican." They also changed the rating for Sen. Michael Bennet's Senate seat, the incumbent in Colorado, from "Likely Democratic" to "Lean Democratic."

All that being said, Cook Political Report decided to leave Ohio's Senate seat as "Lean Republican."

That Emerson College poll also has good news for Vance, though again, the race looks tight, as his lead is within the margin of error. Voters prefer Vance with 45 percent to Ryan's 42 percent. He even has an edge among those "very motivated" voters 45 percent to Ryan's 44 percent. When it comes to "somewhat motivated" voters, however, it is not close. Vance leads by 20 points, with 46 percent to Ryan's 26 percent. 

The Trump effect might really come into play with such a race, considering that Trump had endorsed Vance shortly before the primary and appeared at a rally with him in the state. Trump's endorsement very much looked to have a positive effect. Afterwards, polling showed that Vance had moved to the top of a crowded field, and he ultimately won that primary with 32.0 percent, almost 9 points ahead of his closest challenger, Josh Mandel, who came in second with 23.87 percent. 

Vance also appeared with Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL) in Youngstown, Ohio on Friday night for a Turning Point USA "Unite and Win" rally. 

It's also worth mentioning the state of the race for congressional seats. Of the 16 congressional districts, 12 are held by Republicans, while just four are held by Democrats. 

Rep. Marcy Kaptur is a Democrat who has represented Ohio's 9th Congressional District since 1983. She faces J.R. Majewski come November, who, like Vance, was endorsed by Trump. While Kaptur's seat has been considered solidly safe in the past, across the board her race this time is considered a "Toss-Up," in part due to redistricting. 

Two other Democratic members in Ohio, Reps. Joyce Beatty of Ohio's 3rd Congressional District and Shontel Brown of the state's 11th Congressional District are running in "Solid Democratic" races. 

Thanks to redistricting (when it comes to House seats), and, potentially this upcoming red wave, Ohio will likely remain red. Nevertheless, the races mentioned will surely be ones to watch. 

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