Republicans Dominate Down the Ticket in Ohio

Jack Brewster, Staff Writer

Donald Trump overwhelmingly won Ohio and edged out Hillary Clinton in Lorain County, but he was not the only Republican candidate in the state and county to claim victory on Tuesday. Senator Rob Portman and Representative Jim Jordan, both Republicans, were re-elected to the Senate and the House of Representatives for Ohio’s fourth district, respectively. Dan Ramos, a Democrat, was re-elected as state representative to Ohio’s 56th district, which includes Oberlin.

Portman declared victory early Tuesday night and finished more than one million votes ahead of his opponent, Democrat Ted Strickland. In Lorain County, Portman defeated Strickland by more than 17,000 votes, garnering 53.8 percent of the vote compared to Strickland’s 40.5.

“All that continues after the dust settles tomorrow morning is the cause of America,” Portman said in his victory speech. “This political season has been one that we’re probably all happy to let go, and we probably won’t miss it. It will be time to turn to the serious business ahead for our country, and we’ve got lots to do, don’t we?”

Portman will serve his second term as Ohio Senator. His re-election was vital to Republicans looking to maintain their majority in the Senate. With Portman’s win and other Republican Senate victories around the country, the GOP preserves its Senate majority 51–49.

Strickland, the former governor of Ohio and a strong Clinton supporter, was expected to defeat Portman. He led in most polls until this fall and raised over $20 million, according to the Columbus Dispatch. Strickland’s lead dissipated after pro-Portman PACs launched a series of attack ads. The Democratic Party quickly pulled its funding, believing that the race was a lost cause, which further reduced his standing in the polls.

Come November, experts predicted Portman would win.

“Thank you to all who supported our campaign,” Strickland tweeted. “I am proud to have fought for working families during this campaign and will continue to do so.”

Jordan was re-elected as Ohio’s 4th Congressional district representative, which includes Oberlin, by an even greater margin than Portman. Jordan defeated his opponent Janet Garrett by more than 100,000 votes, with 68 percent of the vote compared to Garrett’s 32.

“It’s a great honor to serve as the 4th district’s voice in Congress, and I am humbled by the voters’ support to represent them for another term,” Jordan said in The Chronicle- Telegram. “I am committed to working hard and ending ‘business as usual’ in Washington so we can begin tackling the big issues facing our country.”

Jordan, chairman of the House Freedom caucus, has been Congressman for the fourth district since his first election in 2006. He is known as a strong proponent of conservative values. According to his website, he was awarded the Pro-Life Legislator of the Year award from the United Conservatives of Ohio.

This is the second time Garrett has challenged Jordan. He also defeated Garrett in a race for the House in 2014. Garrett, a former school teacher in Oberlin, lost every precinct except Lorain County, where she won by more than 5,000 votes.

“This district has been gerrymandered so severely that running was kind of an act of resistance,” Garrett told the Review. “Ohio is a 50 –50 split between the two parties which is why we’re a bellwether state in the election. And we have 16 congressional seats. If democracy were served we would have eight Republicans and eight Democrats, right? Well we have four Democrats and 12 Republicans and it’s because of the gerrymandering. … They tried to take away our voice because there’s so many Democrats in this county.”

Garrett said she is undecided at this point whether she will run in 2018, but will keep her mind open.

Dan Ramos was the lone Democrat to win a prominent political office on the Oberlin ballot. He was re-elected as state representative for Ohio’s 56th district, defeating Republican Jessie Mae Tower with 30,038 votes compared to Tower’s 17,165.

“I’m feeling very good,” Ramos said after his win on Election Day to the Morning Journal. “I’ve worked very hard for six years to put the needs of our community at the forefront in Columbus, and it’s always very gratifying that basically, the folks want me to keep doing what I’m doing for our community.”

Tower could not be reached for comment.

While some Oberlin voters did their research and cared about races besides the presidential election, others headed to the voting booths either uninterested or uninformed.

“I cared about the tax levies because I’m a teacher,” said Elizabeth York, a teacher at the Quest Community School in Parma, Ohio. “As far as who’s judge and who’s this and that, no I don’t care. Presidential election and the tax levies are the only things I cared about.”

As a student who is residing in Oberlin temporarily, College senior Michael Masella felt uncomfortable voting for more taxes.

“No, I didn’t really care about the other elections,” Masella said. “But I voted all Democrat, and I didn’t vote for the taxes, because I don’t live here and I didn’t think it would be right.”

Hector Orama, a retired autoworker who voted for Trump, said he only voted in the elections for which he felt he had enough information.

“I voted for Ramos because I know the family and I voted for Portman,” Orama said. “I didn’t vote for either [Jordan or Garrett] because I didn’t really feel confident I have enough knowledge of them. I’ll be glad when the whole thing is over with.”