Feb. 11, 2016 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Will the Buckeye State Swing Back to the GOP in 2010?

The third vote on the Reapportionment Board belongs to Ohio’s secretary of state. But the incumbent, Brunner, is running against Fisher for the open-seat Democratic Senate nomination. Party insiders have urged Brunner to drop her Senate bid, and she is likely to come under continued pressure to do so after her third-quarter fundraising was so weak. But she recently reiterated her intention to stay in the race.

Brunner’s open seat looks to be a battle between state House Minority Leader Jennifer Garrison, 47, a Democrat from Marietta, and Republican state Sen. Jon Husted, 42, a former Speaker of the Ohio House. Democratic insiders had expected Franklin County Commissioner Marilyn Brown (D) to be their party’s nominee, but she unexpectedly dropped out of the race earlier this month.

The two other statewide contests are also interesting, though for different reasons.

DeWine is now running for one of his old jobs — attorney general. The post is currently held by Cordray, 50, who won a special election to fill the vacant office after Dann was forced to resign after becoming embroiled in a sexual harassment scandal.

In the state treasurer’s race, Kevin Boyce (D), 38, who was selected by Strickland to fill the post when Cordray become attorney general, faces state Rep. Josh Mandel (R).

Boyce, who is black, previously served on the Columbus City Council. Mandel, who is Jewish, was undergraduate student body president at Ohio State University and served two tours of duty in Iraq as a member of the Marines. Mandel, 32, represents a normally Democratic Cuyahoga County (Cleveland)-based legislative district in the state House.

Given the youth of many of the statewide hopefuls (five are under 45), some of the winners are likely to show up in future gubernatorial and Senate races.

Next year’s Senate race is also crucial. With moderate Republican George Voinovich retiring, a Democratic win by either Fisher or Brunner would put another liberal Democrat in the Senate, while a victory by former Rep. Rob Portman (R) would confirm that the state had swung back to its competitive norm.

Two House seats, Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy’s Columbus-based 15th district and Rep. Steve Driehaus’ Cincinnati-based 1st, will also be at risk. Republicans need to win at least one, and possibly both, to have a chance to have the kind of banner year that they are hoping for.

Stuart Rothenberg is editor of the Rothenberg Political Report.

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