Ohio State’s College Republicans and College Democrats groups watched as the Republican Party brought home wins in every major race of the Ohio midterm election Tuesday — and a member of each group agreed on one thing: the 2014 midterm elections were predictable.
Gov. John Kasich, representing the Republican Party with Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, was elected to a second term. He ran against Democrat Ed FitzGerald, a Cuyahoga County executive, and his lieutenant governor candidate Sharen Neuhardt. Anita Rios ran with co-chair of the Ohio and Franklin County Green Parties Bob Fitrakis, representing the Green Party.
Sam Zuidema, chairman of OSU College Republicans and a fourth-year in history and political science, said he felt very confident leading up to the elections.
“All of the Republican statewide office holders have been doing a fantastic job,” he said. “Their success over the past four years testifies to why some people would consider Gov. Kasich’s re-election somewhat of a shoo-in.”
Michael Lakomy, political director of OSU College Democrats and second-year in accounting, said he knew these elections would be difficult for the Democratic Party. He said voter turnout was low, and credited Kasich’s victory in the gubernatorial elections to a strong economy.
“Kasich is lucky,” Lakomy said. “He gets to ride (President Barack) Obama’s coattails into a strong economy, and then he gets re-elected.”
Zuidema, however, said he views Obama as a reason for the Republican Party’s victories.
“I consider this campaign a referendum on Obama,” Zuidema said. “I think people have been dismayed in his lack of leadership, and are looking in a different direction. I think that’s why the Republicans were able to take some massive gains in this election.”
Obama’s approval rating was 42 percent for the week of Oct. 27 to Sunday, according to Gallup.
Zuidema also said the Republican Party’s wins are a result of the Democratic Party’s inefficient campaigning.
“They will definitely be very careful next election about who they pick, making sure they have a strong record of leadership, making sure that they won’t run into any blunders,” he said.
Although the Republican Party gained major wins in the statewide elections and won the United States Senate, Lakomy said he does not see its victory as representative of its popularity.
“Ohioans are not 100 percent on board with Kasich’s plan for Ohio,” Lakomy said. “(His agenda) is going to leave us with a state where the rich get richer, and most Ohioans lose out.”
Lakomy said Kasich’s tax plan and anti-abortion agenda will hurt Ohioans.
Kasich cut the Ohio income tax and created a nonrefundable earned income tax credit.
He’s voted for banning partial-birth abortions and for barring transportation for minors seeking an abortion. Kasich takes an anti-abortion stance except in cases of rape and incest.
Zuidema, on the other hand, said Kasich’s agenda will create a better Ohio.
“He’s really been pushing modernization and diversification of Ohio’s economy, allowing young people to find a niche in the economy and stay in Ohio,” he said. “He’s just really pulled Ohio out of the dismal financial outlook that we were in four years ago.”
Looking forward, Lakomy said he is optimistic for the Democratic Party, though.
“What’s really great is that this race has begun to open conversation with Ohioans about the way that Kasich has hurt the economy, and everything from women’s rights to voting rights,” Lakomy said. “Ohioans are hungry for a change, they’re hungry for answers that work and for solutions, and we’re excited to be able to start presenting those in this next session coming up.”
The election also included statewide executive office positions, the Ohio General Assembly, state representatives, the state Board of Education, county offices and judicial offices.
Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine won re-election against attorney David Pepper, who represented the Democratic party.
Secretary of State Jon Husted, representing the Republican party, was re-elected. He ran against:
Democrat Nina Turner, the state senate minority whip
Libertarian Kevin Knedler, state party chair
Republican State Auditor Dave Yost won re-election as well, running against:
Democrat John Patrick Carney, a state representative
Libertarian Bob Bridges, state party vice chair
State treasurer Josh Mandel, representing the Republican party, won re-election against Democrat Connie Pillich, a state representative.