Gov. Mike DeWine wins second term in contest with Democrat Nan Whaley

By: - November 8, 2022 10:36 pm

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine. (Photo by Graham Stokes for the Ohio Capital Journal / Republish photo only with original story)

Ohio voters reelected Gov. Mike DeWine Tuesday, giving the Greene County Republican four more years at the helm of Ohio’s highest executive office.

DeWine focused much of his campaign on successful economic development such as the Intel microchip plant being built in New Albany, but in his second term DeWine will face several issues still outstanding from his first, including redistricting, the abortion ban he already signed, and potential new abortion ban legislation.

Victory speeches

Governor Mike DeWine delivering his victory speech in Columbus. (photo by Nick Evans)

DeWine and his running mate Jon Husted delivered victory speeches in a Columbus banquet hall with the Republican party’s statewide ticket.

“You win your first term on hope,” Husted told the crowd. “You win your second when you deliver on that hope.”

The DeWine administration has made no secret of its readiness to pass abortion restrictions. Husted added to the conservative wishlist, promising their win would mean “more control over what your children are exposed to at school.”

DeWine, flanked by dozens of family members, described how Ohio has attracted businesses to the state.

“We’re people who get things done,” DeWine said. “We solve problems. We don’t whine about it, we just go solve it. We make things, we invent things, we do things – that’s the asset we have.”


In her concession statement, Democrat Nan Whaley insisted Ohio still has a choice.

“You can accept the status quo in our state and the extremists who have rigged the Statehouse,” she said, “or you can keep working for something better, even when you get knocked down, because our families and communities are worth it.”

She committed to continue working to fight corruption, raise the minimum wage and pass universal pre-k statewide. As she has throughout her race, Whaley also committed to continuing the fight for abortion rights. Shortly after the Supreme Court overturned Roe, she promised to push for a constitutional amendment protecting abortion rights in Ohio.

“The last 20 months have been filled with high and lows,” Whaley said Tuesday night. “And while tonight wasn’t the high we had hoped for, I still believe in Ohio. I still believe that our citizens deserve better than what they’re getting.”

The race

During the campaign, DeWine largely chose to ignore his Democratic opponent Nan Whaley. He declined to debate the former Dayton mayor. Instead he addressed her through campaign ads that accused her of raising taxes and “defunding” the police. 

During Whaley’s term she helped pass a local levy to fund universal pre-K. Reductions in the police budget came as part of across the board cuts during the Great Recession – long before the “defund” slogan became popular. Whaley’s campaign also notes those cuts came in response to Republicans slashing the Local Government Fund during the Kasich administration.

The broader context

Despite earning plaudits on both sides of the aisle for his early handling of the COVID pandemic, DeWine infuriated conservatives in his party who opposed mask and shutdown policies. DeWine eventually tried to split the difference and left no one satisfied — liberals worried Ohio was reopening recklessly and conservatives never forgave him. 

Frustration with DeWine’s COVID policy earned him three primary challengers running to his right. One of them, political newcomer Joe Blystone, won 22 counties in the primary despite finishing third in the final tally. At a Trump rally on the eve of the election, attendees jeered at the mention of DeWine and booed him off stage when he spoke.

Early this year, though, two things happened that helped fuel DeWine’s reelection chances: Intel announced a multibillion factory in Ohio, and Russia invaded Ukraine. 

The war ensured already high inflation would persist — heightening frustrations with the Biden administration over the price of gas and groceries. Intel’s promise of economic development offered a powerful contrast, and it fit neatly with rhetoric about bringing jobs back from overseas.

“This is our time,” DeWine said in January. “We have an opportunity to lead once again. Intel’s announcement today is a signal to China and to the rest of the world that from now on our essential manufactured products in this country will be made in the United States of America.”

For full percentage and vote total breakdowns, please visit the Ohio Secretary of State website here.

Follow OCJ Reporter Nick Evans on Twitter.



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Nick Evans
Nick Evans

Nick Evans has spent the past seven years reporting for NPR member stations in Florida and Ohio. He got his start in Tallahassee, covering issues like redistricting, same sex marriage and medical marijuana. Since arriving in Columbus in 2018, he has covered everything from city council to football. His work on Ohio politics and local policing have been featured numerous times on NPR.