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Incumbent Ohio Governor Mike DeWine beats challenger Nan Whaley

David Richard
AP Photo
Ohio governor Mike DeWine poses for a picture during a press conference June 2, 2022 in Avon Lake, Ohio

Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has won a second term in Tuesday’s race for the state’s chief executive slot against challenger Nan Whaley, a Democrat, who had hoped to regain a seat last held by her party 16 years ago.

DeWine won a surprisingly tight three-way primary in May as conservatives angered by his efforts to slow COVID-19 sought to unseat him. Whaley handily defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley in her primary.

DeWine and Whaley bonded over the 2019 mass shooting that killed nine in Dayton. But Whaley had increasingly criticized the governor for his failure to pass stronger gun laws and for his anti-abortion stance.

DeWine, 75, has generally portrayed himself above the campaign fray, declining without explanation to debate Whaley. His campaign resisted attack ads against Whaley until last month, when it criticized her for supporting the American Rescue Plan Act in her role as president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The ads fail to mention that DeWine has promoted grants the state received through the pandemic relief measure.

Whaley, 46, said DeWine was afraid of debate questions about his role in a $60 million bribery scheme aimed at passing legislation to prop up Ohio’s two nuclear power plants; the controversy over a 10-year-old Ohio girl forced to seek an abortion in Indiana after being raped; and his decision to sign a law allowing school districts to arm trained employees.

DeWine has said Ohioans already know him and his positions well. Besides being one of the state’s most familiar politicians, DeWine also spent months at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic appearing in daily statewide broadcasts.