Ohio Re-Elects Taft As GOP Sweeps Statewide Offices

November 6, 2002

Ohio voters have given Governor Bob Taft another four years in office.

Around 10:00 Tuesday night, Democratic challenger Tim Hagan conceded the governor’s race to Taft, the incumbent. Ohio voters also gave Republicans a clean sweep of all statewide offices and the Supreme Court.

In his re-election bid, Taft relied mainly on his record. Taft's successes include an environmental bond issue spending $400 million to clean up abandoned industrial sites and preserve green space. He's also overseeing a $23 billion, ten-year plan to rebuild Ohio schools.

Hagan is a former Cuyahoga County commissioner. His biggest achievement was successfully campaigning with Cleveland's mayor for a county tax on alcohol and tobacco. That tax helped pay for Cleveland's Jacobs Field, Gund Arena and later, Browns Stadium. The 56-year-old Democrat says he has made his political career on a single theory the belief that government can help solve social problems, even if it means raising taxes.

Just as ideological differences split the candidates, so did campaign funds. Reports filed last month show Taft with more than $8 million on hand. By comparison, Hagan had less than $1 million. While Taft has run several television commercials, Hagan says he cannot afford a television campaign and is relying on direct mail and Internet advertising.

During his concession speech, Hagan said Democrats have a special responsibility to the poor and the powerless, and anyone whose voice is not being heard.

In his victory speech, Taft said he is proud to have led what he called the most experienced, most diverse ticket in the history of the state to victory.

Taft’s re-election does make history. Taft’s running mate, Columbus City Council member Jennette Bradley, will become the nation’s the first female black lieutenant governor.

Attorney General

Current Ohio Auditor Jim Petro won the Attorney General’s race. Petro beat State Senator Leigh Herington (D-Ravenna).

Secretary of State

Ohio voters have re-elected Republican incumbent Ken Blackwell. Blackwell defeated challenger State Representative Bryan Flannery (D-Lakewood).

Auditor of State

Current Attorney General Betty Montgomery, a Republican, wins the Auditor’s seat. Montgomery beat Democrat Helen Knipe Smith.

Ohio Treasurer

In the closest statewide race, Republican incumbent Joe Deters defeated Democrat Mary Boyle. Throughout the campaign, Deters was hit with allegations of wrongdoing. However, the Ohio Elections Commission ruled that the Hamilton County Republican Party and Deters did nothing illegal in the way they raised money in 2001.

Ohio Supreme Court Races

The two Republican-endorsed candidates, Maureen O’Connor and Justice Evelyn Lundberg Stratton won the two races for seats on the state’s highest court. These two races were among the state’s closest, with the content of commercials backing candidates from both sides gaining headlines.

The victories by Stratton and O'Connor are expected to switch a 4-3 majority on many issues, including school funding, insurance and lawsuit liability cases.

The current majority has ruled in favor of labor unions and trial lawyers.

State Issue 1

The Associated Press says Ohio voters have rejected State Issue 1. The only statewide ballot issue, a proposed constitutional amendment, would have required judges to order treatment instead of jail for nonviolent first- and second-time drug offenders who requested it.

Both treatment and jail will remain sentencing options.

Three business executives backed State Issue 1, funding the proposal. However, Ohio law enforcement officials, as well as medical groups and other state leaders opposed the issue.

Governor Bob Taft said the issue’s passage would undermine the state’s current drug treatment efforts. Taft charges the proposal would create a revolving door of treatment where addicts can escape their responsibilities.

Here are the results of other races around the state:

Northwest Ohio

In the Fourth District Congressional race, Republican incumbent Mike Oxley has defeated Democratic challenger Jim Clark.

In Ohio’s Fifth District Congressional race, Republican incumbent Paul Gillmor has defeated challenger Roger Anderson.

Toldeo Democrat Marcy Kaptur defeated Republican Ed Emery in her bid for re-election to Ohio’s Ninth District Congressional seat.

Northeast Ohio

In the Tenth District Congressional race, incumbent Dennis Kucinich defeated Republican challenger Jon Heben.

In the Eleventh District Congressional race, Democratic incumbent Stephanie Tubbs Jones defeated challenger Patrick Pappano.

In the race for Ohio’s Thirteenth District Congressional seat, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown defeated challenger Ed Oliveros.

In Ohio’s Fourteenth District Congressional race, Republican incumbent Steven LaTourette has held off Democratic challenger Mark Brown.

In the race for Ohio’s Sixteenth District Congressional seat, Republican incumbent Ralph Regula holds on to his seat. Regula defeats Democratic challenger Tim Rice.

In a three-way race for Ohio’s Seventeenth district, current State Senator Tim Ryan won the open seat. Ryan, a Democrat, defeated Republican State Senator Ann Womer Benjamin and former Congressman James Traficant. Congress expelled Traficant earlier this year after a federal jury convicted Traficant on ten corruption charges. Traficant, a former Democrat running as an Independent, has spent the campaign season in a Pennsylvania federal prison, while supporters had run his campaign. Ryan is a former Traficant aide.

Voters in Cleveland have approved Issue 4, a ballot issue that would keep control of the city’s schools under the mayor’s office. In 1998, the State Legislature gave the city control of Cleveland’s then-failing school system. The Ohio Supreme Court upheld that move earlier this year. Last year, more than 75 percent of ninth and 12th-graders passed the writing tests. More than 86 percent of 10th graders passed both the writing and reading tests. That is four areas where Cleveland schools exceeded state targets, compared with no indicators met in 1999.

Central Ohio

In Ohio’s Seventh District Congressional race, Republican incumbent Dave Hobson has held off Democratic challenger Kara Anastasio.

In Ohio’s Twelfth District, Republican incumbent Pat Tiberi defeated Edward Brown for a second term on Capitol Hill.

In Ohio’s Fifteenth District Congressional race, Republican incumbent Deborah Pryce has held off Democratic challenger Mark Brown.

Southwest Ohio

Former Dayton Mayor Mike Turner has won the open Third District Congressional seat. Turner beat Democrat Richard Carne. The seat, formerly held by Tony Hall was vacated earlier this year when Hall accepted a job as the U.S. hunger ambassador to the United Nations.

For Ohio’s First District Congressional race, Republican incumbent Steven Chabot has held off a challenge from Democrat Greg Harris.

In Ohio’s Second District Congressional race, Republican incumbent Rob Portman has defeated challenger Charles Sanders.

In the Eighth District Congressional race, Republican incumbent John Boehner defeated challenger Jeff Hardenbrook.

Hamilton County voters defeated a tax proposal to raise money to build a light-rail transit system and expand bus service. Supporters say the light-rail system is needed to reduce traffic congestion on the region’s highways. Opponents say they saw no need for the added tax.

Southeast Ohio

In Ohio’s Sixth District Congressional race, Democratic incumbent Ted Strickland held off a challenge from Republican Mike Halleck. The Sixth District was redrawn during redistricting to include a large part of eastern Ohio along the Ohio River.

Statehouse Races

In races for the Ohio Statehouse, Republicans beat incumbent Democrats in at least two Ohio House districts and one Senate district as they worked to increase an already comfortable majority.

Republican Jim Raussen beat Democratic Representative Wayne Coates in a Cincinnati district, and Republican John Schlichter won over Democratic Representative Joseph Sulzer in
a southern Ohio district.

Democrat state Senator Mike Shoemaker lost his re-election bid to Republican Representative John Carey. Term limits prevented Carey from running for re-election in the House.

Republicans lost at least one seat they oreviously held. In a suburban Akron district, Democrat Kathleen Chandler of Kent beat Republican Terri Hauenstein. Republican Ann Womer Benjamin had to leave that seat because of term limits.

Last week, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office estimated a 47 percent turnout for this Election Day. That’s equal to 3.3 million Ohioans going to the polls. In the last gubernatorial election in 1998, 50 percent of Ohioans participated.

© Dispatch Productions, Inc., 2002. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.


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