Republicans Sweep Ohio Midterm Elections


Yvette Chen

President Marvin Krislov anxiously watches the midterm election returns with College first-years Dan Marcelle and Daniel Pardee. This year’s elections saw success across the board for the Republican Party, which swept both Ohio and the rest of the country.

Madeline Stocker, News Editor

If someone asks what’s red and red and red all over, the answer might be the results of Lorain County’s midterm election.

Not only did gubernatorial incumbent John Kasich rise to re-election just minutes after the polls closed, but the spots for attorney general, secretary of state and state treasurer, as well as several congressional seats, have all been filled by Republican candidates.

Kasich, who ran on a platform of expanding the job market and restoring fiscal health through partnership with the private sector, coasted to re-election after low voter turnout and his opponent’s weakened campaign gave him a 31 percent lead over Democratic opponent Edward FitzGerald.

FitzGerald, a former FBI agent who proved to be a stronger candidate than many expected, had suffered fundraising challenges throughout the majority of his campaign. Combined with the criticisms FitzGerald received after the news that he had been driving for 10 years without a valid license went viral, these challenges greatly weakened his campaign.

Kasich, who has been dubbed a possible candidate for the 2016 presidential election, made his victory speech Tuesday night at the Renaissance Downtown Columbus Hotel amid supporters and fellow Republican officeholders.

“This is not just another election, not a political campaign,” Kasich said. “This is a move- ment to restore hope in our state and [might lead] to hope being restored all across the United States of America.”

During Kasich’s time in office, Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped from 9.1 percent to 5.7 percent and the state’s $8 billion budget deficit was eradicated, according to The Washington Post. However, the governor has also received his fair share of criticisms from Democrats and Republicans alike.

Often focusing on his controversial policies regarding Medicaid and the Common Core as well as the collective bargaining battle the governor lost against public employee unions in 2011, critics have claimed that Kasich misrepresents the state’s fiscal improvement by shadowing the fact that he hiked taxes and took advantage of the recurring economic upswing.

For some, Kasich’s victory seems undeserved.

“This election had pathetically low turnout,” said College junior and Oberlin College Democrats Co-Chair Madeline Peltz. “Across the state, hundreds of thousands of voters who cast ballots in 2006 for Ted Strickland stayed home, handing Kasich and the entire Republican ticket a landslide election they did not deserve.”

According to Peltz, the Lorain County precinct with the lowest voter turnout was an Oberlin precint composed mainly of residents of North Campus.

“The student body is filled with brilliant and passionate activists who engage many different political channels in order to have their voices heard,” Peltz said. “But when it came to voting this year, Oberlin students completely dropped the ball. When Issue 2 was on the ballot to repeal Kasich’s elimination of collective bargaining rights, the college students here sprung into action because they knew how important it was to the livelihoods of the people in this community and across the state. It is important that we get back to that level of engagement.”

n league with their greater Ohio counterparts, Democrats from the city of Oberlin also suffered quite a blow this election. The most high-profile local campaign, the election for Oberlin’s congressional representative, bore yet another Republican victory, this time for Congressman Jim Jordan.

Jordan, who ran on a platform of agriculture reform and reduced government spending, won over two-thirds of votes in Ohio. The congressman has voiced continuous support for heightened border security and says he would like to see an increase in cheap, reliable fuel.

His opponent, current school teacher and congressional write-in Janet Garrett, was by far the Oberlin favorite and won Lorain county by a 9 percent margin. Her campaign platform included decreasing the state’s dependency on fossil fuels, as well as ensuring citizenship for undocumented children and child refugees.

The current union member received much support from the Oberlin community, including aid with canvassing and phone-banking.

“Janet Garrett is in tune with the world,” said College senior Ali Amiri, who volunteered with Garrett’s campaign. “She is a current teacher looking to have an impact on education reform, which includes lowering student interest rates. On top of that, she is running for women’s reproductive rights, pro-same- sex marriage and others.”

Amiri said he believes Jordan to be a wholly unsuitable candidate.

“[He] is pro-stop and frisk, doesn’t believe in global warming, is anti-same-sex marriage and is against minimum wage changes,” said Amiri. “The only reason [he] wins is because he is a professional politician for a living. All he does is run campaigns and advertise. The people of Ohio aren’t fully aware of his views, and so many people don’t go out to vote. It’s really a shame.”

If Lorain County Democrats can find any solace in this week’s elections, it may be in what proved to be the biggest local upset of the night — the appointment of Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) to the Lorain County commissioner seat. Lundy unseated past commissioner Tom Williams (R-Amherst) by fewer than 2,000 votes, according to unofficial results.

As for local issues, results show that Lorain County voters support the county’s Board of Mental Health and Children Services divisions, as both sectors won their bids for levy renewals. The Lorain County Metro Parks were also given approval for a funding increase.

The only issue that did not pass in this election was the levy to fund the county’s Crime/ Drug Lab. Opponents say that the county should discontinue the lab and instead direct their resources into the state’s Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation Lab.