DeWine, Cordray headed to Nov. showdown in Ohio

DeWine, Cordray headed to Nov. showdown in Ohio
© Greg Nash
Ohio’s current attorney general and his immediate predecessor will face off for the right to succeed the state’s term-limited governor, in what is likely to be one of the most hotly contested gubernatorial races in the nation this year.
 
Attorney General Mike DeWine beat out Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor to claim the Republican nomination in Tuesday’s primaries. 
 
Former Ohio Attorney General Richard CordrayRichard Adams CordrayNew polling shows Brown, DeWine with leads in Ohio Wealthiest Republican supporter in Ohio quits party Obama blasts GOP: They ‘put up with crazy’ MORE — until last year the director of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — outlasted a surprisingly strong comeback attempt by former Rep. Dennis Kucinich to take the Democratic nod.
 
Both DeWine and Cordray were favored by party leaders. But both primaries involved contentious debates over the future of both the Republican and Democratic parties that could create internal schisms ahead of November.
 
On the GOP side, DeWine and Taylor both sought to paint themselves as the most conservative possible candidate in the race. That meant distancing themselves from the incumbent governor, John Kasich, who has become a frequent critic of President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump: I hope voters pay attention to Dem tactics amid Kavanaugh fight South Korea leader: North Korea agrees to take steps toward denuclearization Graham calls handling of Kavanaugh allegations 'a drive-by shooting' MORE.
 
Taylor, elected on a ticket with Kasich, went so far as to pledge to pull out of what one of her advertisements called “John Kasich’s ObamaCare expansion.” DeWine tweeted the hashtag #LockHerUp about his opponent, before apologizing.
 
On the Democratic side, Cordray found himself on the defensive over positive ratings he received from the National Rifle Association in past races. Kucinich attacked Cordray’s pro-gun positions — though media reports that Kucinich accepted $20,000 from a group backing Syrian President Bashar Assad and his past as a Fox News contributor seemed to squelch his momentum. 
 
Democrats should face an uphill fight in a state that has trended toward Republicans in recent years. President Trump won Ohio by 8 percentage points in 2016, and Democrats have only held the governorship for four of the past 28 years.
 
But Cordray may have the wind at his back as the political landscape tilts toward the left. Ohio’s last Democratic governor, Ted Strickland, won his single term in office in 2006, another banner year for Democrats when the party reclaimed control of Congress.
 
Both national parties have said they will make Ohio a priority in November’s elections. The Republican Governors Association began reserving television airtime three months ago, while the Democratic Governors Association began reserving their airtime in March.