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Ohio Republicans sweep races for statewide executive offices

GOP winners.jpg
Andy Chow
Statehouse News Bureau
Gov. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio), incumbent running for re-election, speaks to reporters while joined by J.D. Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, and other Republican candidates for statewide office outside their tour bus.

Republican J.D. Vance has won his race for U.S. Senate against Tim Ryan, and Mike DeWine defeated Nan Whaley in his bid for re-election as governor. The two were among a clean sweep for the GOP in every statewide race.

A room full of Republican supporters erupted in applause as J.D. Vance took the stage to accept his victory on election night.

Vance edged out his Democratic rival Tim Ryan 53% to 46%, based on unofficial results.

Vance says, after a long battle, he’s excited to go to D.C.

“We've been given an opportunity to do something, and that's to govern. And to govern to make the lives of the people of Ohio better. That's exactly what I aim to do. And because of you, I get a chance to do it.”

Vance took on a unifying tone during his acceptance speech, never mentioning the endorsement of former president Trump. He thanked Ryan for a hard-fought campaign and he said he plans to be a senator who represents all Ohioans.

“Whoever's in the majority, whatever the president looks like, we have a very simple job to do. It's to go to work every single day and fight for the people of Ohio. Fight for our workers, fight for our families.”

Vance also thanked Mike DeWine for his help in creating a “unified” Republican team.

While the US Senate race was the last to be called in Ohio, DeWine’s was the first. Most major news outlets declared DeWine to be the winner just two minutes after the polls had closed.

DeWine has 63% of the vote against Democratic candidate Nan Whaley’s 37%, according to unofficial results. DeWine said he and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted will continue their mission for Ohio.

"I continue will continue to push forward and to lead and to talk about the things that we have to do. Our goal for every person in this state is for them to live up to their God given potential to remove all barriers that are hindering them from doing that. Because Ohio is the land of opportunity.”

Vance noted that the GOP incumbents who won the downticket contests helped his race against Ryan, in a year that was predicted to be good for Republicans, proved to be tougher than many expected.

Tim Ryan said he fought hard and gave it all he had but, in the end, he said voters had spoken. And Ryan, who no longer has a seat in Congress either, said he had the privilege to concede this race to J.D. Vance.

“Because the way this country operates is when you lose an election, you concede. And you respect the will of the people, right? We can’t have a system where if you win, it’s a legitimate election and if you lose, someone stole it. That is not how we can move forward in the United States.”

Ryan talked about how important it is for everyone to come together to work for the common good.

“We have too much hate. We have too much anger. There’s way too much fear. And there’s way too much division. And that we need more love. We need more compassion. We need more concern for each other.”

Whaley echoed similar calls for respecting democracy.

“Despite a broken state government and politicians working to divide us, it's still clear to me that we have more in common than not. We're going to hear from folks that it's time to write off ohio is some backwater where extremism is just the way things are. But I refuse to accept that.”

But Whaley said she’ll continue to push for an increase in the minimum wage….and abortion rights.

“Since Roe was overturned, I've said we need to take this issue directly to voters with a ballot initiative to codify abortion rights in the Ohio State constitution. That starts now.”

Voters has said abortion was one of their top issues.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.