2022 is set to be an interesting year. With midterms quickly approaching, voters will again go to the polls and perform their civic duty. 435 Seats in the House of Representatives, 36 states and 3 territories electing new governors, and 34 Senate seats will be up for grabs in what can be considered the first real referendum on the Biden Presidency. Democrats and Republicans will spend more money than ever to win, and they don’t look back.
One of the many elections in 2022 is the Ohio Gubernatorial Race. Incumbent Governor Richard “Mike” DeWine (R-OH) already has 3 primary challengers with more expected to enter the race. It’s not common to see an incumbent primary so heavily, especially with such high-profile opponents. Former Congress and 2018 Republican nominee for Senate Jim Rennaci declared his candidacy earlier this year. Incumbent Congressman Warren Davidson of Ohio’s 8th District has also expressed interest and is rumored to be preparing an announcement sometime this year. Other candidates include Farmer and Business Owner Joe Blystone and Pastor Niel Petersen. To the surprise of many, Blystone has had a relatively strong showing in polls. According to the Committee for a Better Ohio, Blystone comes in third place with 12%, only 17% behind DeWine who has only 29%. The real winner of these polls is Jim Renacci. His strong showing so far gives anti-DeWine Republicans hope. In that same poll, Renacci reached 49%.
DeWine has been in Ohio politics since 1977 when he first became a Prosecutor in Greene County. His career can only be described as interesting. After his loss in the 2006 Senate election against Sherrod Brown (D), DeWine joined Law Firm Keating Muething & Klekamp. To no surprise, he also served as an advisor to the Ohio Campaign for John McCain in 2008. It wasn’t until 2010 that DeWine re-entered Ohio politics, running to become the Attorney General. On May 6th, 2016, DeWine announced that he’d run for Governor to succeed term-limited Governor John Kasich, a fellow Republican. In that same year, then-Congressman Jim Renacci also entered the race for Governor but quickly dropped out and instead ran for United States Senate. The 2018 Ohio Gubernatorial Election was rough on Ohio Republicans, as Incumbent Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor also announced she’d seek the nomination.
Regardless of the past, it’s become clear that DeWine has deep roots in Ohio Politics. His overwhelming donor base outmatches other Republican challengers by a steep margin. However, money clearly doesn’t win it all. Renacci’s strong showing in polls should frighten DeWine and his team. The 2022 election will be the political equivalent of a civil war between Ohio Republicans. It’ll be interesting to see how it turns out, but one thing’s for sure. DeWine will have to fight hard and convince his fellow GOP’ers that he is still the strong conservative they elected in 2018.
By: Jason Miner