Ohio Democratic Party

We've sort of become accustomed to candidates meeting in debates and spending as much time ripping into each other as they do talking about their own ideas.

This was not the case last Tuesday night, when the four Democrats running for Ohio governor met on a high school auditorium stage last Tuesday night in Martins Ferry, an Ohio River town in Belmont County.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

The Ohio Democratic Party is waiting to see if either Richard Cordray or Jerry Springer will enter the race for governor. A study finds the Hamilton County Land Reutilization Corporation has not properly maintained many of the 700 properties it owns.

There is hardly a significant campaign for high office that goes by without a fight over debates.

Will we have them? How many will have? Where will they be? What will the ground rules be?

And, in some cases, those questions never get answered – usually because of the intransigence of one candidate or another – and no debate ever happens.

But the 2018 gubernatorial race in Ohio will most certainly have debates.

In fact, there is one already scheduled.

For a guy who refuses to talk about the subject, former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray has nearly everybody in Ohio Democratic Party politics expecting him to jump into the 2018 race for governor.

We've always thought Cordray had some extraordinary politics skills, but to create the kind of buzz we have seen in the past week while steadfastly refusing to talk about it is quite a neat trick.

It's not as if the Democrats don't already have some credible candidates for governor in the 2018.

If you are a baseball hitter and you have a game where you go 0-4 – no base hits in four at-bats – you're not a happy camper.

But you are not totally despondent. In baseball, there is usually a game tomorrow and you have a chance to go 4-4.

WVXU

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the 2018 statewide elections in Ohio; and whether or not Ohio Democrats can stop the Republicans' march toward making Ohio a totally red state. 

"Leans Republican."

That's the category where Ohio's already-churning 2018 gubernatorial race  is placed by Sabato's Crystal Ball, a highly-respected weekly politics newsletter published by director Larry J. Sabato of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the growing number of Democratic candidates for Ohio governor; and how both the Republicans and Democrats are likely to have lively primary battles for governor in 2018 

About a month ago, David Pepper, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, was more than a bit concerned.

Back then, he had no announced candidates for Ohio governor in 2018, while some rather well-known and well-funded Republicans were gearing up for a fight.

"The time to start organizing campaigns is now,'' Pepper told WVXU in February. "There is no time for exploratory committees and thinking about it. It is time to get on with it."

Well, ask and ye shall receive.

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WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about why, in early 2017, the 2018 Ohio governor's race appears to be ramping up. The main reason: It's an open seat: incumbent John Kasich can't run again. 

The Ohio Republican Party, which has done quite well in statewide elections over the past decade or so, has a nice, neat little bunch of politicians just itching to run for governor next year.

Four of them. Attorney General Mike DeWine. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci of Wadsworth, in Medina County and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who filed paperwork with Husted's office on Thursday so she can start campaigning and, most importantly, raising money.

Red, blue or purple.

Those are the three choices on the political spectrum for a city, a county, or a state.

Ohio voters will pick their favorite color in 2018, the next round of statewide elections, in every office from governor and U.S. senator on down.

And how they choose might determine whether the pendulum swings back from red to blue, or at least, purple, in a state where all the statewide constitutional officeholders are Republican and where Donald Trump stunned Ohio Democrats in November by winning Ohio's 18 electoral votes by a sizeable margin.

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The last three election cycles have been miserable for Democrats in Ohio. Hillary Clinton failed to win the state this year, and, in 2014 and 2010, the Democrats were completely shut of all of Ohio's statewide constitutional offices. Can they make a comeback in 2018's mid-term election? WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Jay Hanselman about it on Morning Edition Monday. 

There’s an old saw that says the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Some people are applying that to the Ohio Democratic Party executive committee’s decision a week ago to endorse former governor Ted Strickland over Cincinnati city council member P.G. Sittenfeld in the 2016 Democratic primary for Republican incumbent Rob Portman’s U.S. Senate seat.

Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

It wasn’t a surprise.  David Pepper received unanimous backing from executive committee members Tuesday night to become the new chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party.

The party’s executive committee met Tuesday night in Columbus. In the end, it was a sweep for Pepper, after his opponent, former lieutenant governor candidate Sharen Neuhardt of Dayton, dropped out of the race Monday.

Pepper says he thinks the party needs to more clearly define its core message of supporting working Ohioans.

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