The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Election news

November 2, 2010

Republican holds edge in Ohio governor race

WASHINGTON — Republican challenger John Kasich was leading Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland in the Ohio governor’s race late Tuesday with more than half the votes counted.

The winner will control a state critical to President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes in 2012.

On a night dominated by Republican victories, Strickland’s early lead among absentee voters succumbed to higher vote totals Kasich was scoring, especially in rural and suburban counties.

Votes were still being tallied in crucial urban counties, including homes to Democrat-dominated Cleveland and GOP-heavy Cincinnati.

Both candidates’ totals still hovered under 50 percent. The possibility has arisen of a legal challenge if the result is close.

As the evening pressed on, Strickland’s early lead among absentee voters was overcome by vote leads Kasich was receiving in 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Strickland had closed in on Kasich’s early edge in polls leading up to Election Day with help from big-name Democrats, including the Obamas.

Their campaign centered on who could do a better job tackling the state’s high unemployment and looming $8 billion budget deficit.

The 58-year-old Kasich, a frequent face on Fox News, attacked Strickland over the loss of 400,000 jobs. The Democratic governor, 69, pointed to national economic factors and improvements in the economy without success. The fight caught Strickland’s lieutenant governor, Lee Fisher, in its crosshairs. Fisher, who led the administration’s early job creation efforts, lost his bid for U.S. Senate on Tuesday.

Kasich sought to fight back Strickland’s attacks on his record as a managing director at Lehman Brothers, the failed investment bank, with promises to bring a more business-minded approach to the state’s economy.

Strickland, a former congressman from Appalachia and an ordained minister and psychologist, touted to voters his efforts to curb college tuition, expand health care access for children and rewrite Ohio’s unconstitutional school-funding system. He said education is the key to Ohio’s economic future.

Kasich stumped on a message of smaller government, tax cuts, and reduced business regulations.


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