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Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine wins GOP nomination over 3 pro-Trump candidates, the AP says

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks Jan. 21, 2022 in Newark, Ohio.
Paul Vernon
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine speaks Jan. 21, 2022 in Newark, Ohio.

Updated May 3, 2022 at 9:35 PM ET

Incumbent Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has won the Republican nomination in his bid for reelection, according to a call from The Associated Press.

He successfully fought off three candidates in a race that became a re-evaluation of his response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DeWine has defended his actions during the pandemic saying he made decisions based on the "best information" available.

"It was my responsibility as governor to take the actions that needed to be taken. I think if you looked at how Ohio approached the pandemic and how other states approach the pandemic, I believe that we had a proper balance between public safety and also allowing people to make their livelihoods," he said.

DeWine's challengers, former Rep. Jim Renacci, Joe Blystone — a farmer and businessman who said he never even thought about running for public office until DeWine's COVID-19 response — and former state Rep. Ron Hood all positioned themselves to the right of DeWine and tried to align themselves with former President Donald Trump. Trump never made an endorsement in the race.

DeWine's challengers also attempted to attract voters frustrated by the fact that he was the first governor in the country to shut down K-12 schools, that he issued health orders to shut down businesses and that he quickly implemented social distancing requirements.

Despite the jabs, DeWine, who has spent more than 40 years in public service as a Republican, defends his conservative record, noting he has signed bills that lift gun regulations and expand abortion restrictions.

The Democrats

And on the Democratic side, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley won the nomination, according to a call from The Associated Press. Whaley defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley to become the state's first woman to win a major party's nomination in a gubernatorial primary.

Whaley announced her candidacy in the race more than a year ago. She also ran for the Democratic nomination in 2018 but bowed out before the primary to throw her support behind eventual nominee Richard Cordray.

Cranley entered the gubernatorial race in August of last year but didn't receive enough votes on Tuesday to continue on.

During the campaign, Whaley attacked Cranley for flipping his position on abortion rights. Cranley once had a record of being anti-abortion and supporting measures that restricted the procedure. However, he said through personal situations his position changed and he became a supporter of abortion rights before entering the gubernatorial race. During the campaign, both candidates said they would veto any bill that restricts abortion.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat, endorsed Whaley as being pro-worker, but Whaley said that doesn't mean she is anti-business.

"I think being pro-worker is being pro-business, actually. What I hear over and over again from businesses is they can't find a strong enough workforce. And I think a lot of that has to do with one; making sure that we invest in our workers from the very young age, and two, that we pay them well," Whaley said.

If she wins in November, Whaley said she knows she will need to work with a Republican-dominated legislature that's been resistant to Democratic proposals.

Jo Ingles, from the Ohio Statehouse News Bureau, contributed to this report.

Copyright 2022 The Statehouse News Bureau

Andy Chow (Statehouse News Bureau)