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DeWine forecasts Trump wins Ohio in 'close vote'

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWineMike DeWineOhio law legalizing concealed knife carry, brass knuckles goes into effect The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - Congress returns; infrastructure takes center stage Biden resists calls to give hard-hit states more vaccines than others MORE (R) predicted on Sunday that President TrumpDonald TrumpFreedom Caucus member condemns GOP group pushing 'Anglo-Saxon political traditions' MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell's new free speech site to ban certain curse words Secret Facebook groups of special operations officers include racist comments, QAnon posts: report MORE will win his state over Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenFour members of Sikh community among victims in Indianapolis shooting Overnight Health: NIH reverses Trump's ban on fetal tissue research | Biden investing .7B to fight virus variants | CDC panel to meet again Friday on J&J On The Money: Moderates' 0B infrastructure bill is a tough sell with Democrats | Justice Dept. sues Trump ally Roger Stone for unpaid taxes MORE in a “close vote.”

"I think the president wins Ohio,” DeWine said on CNN’s “State of the Union.” “I think it's going to be a close vote. I think he wins by a couple points probably.”

The governor said he expects the winner of the state to be known on election night, noting Ohio’s early vote numbers will be ready to process and likely will come in before its Election Day votes. 

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“The first you’re gonna get are all the early votes,” he said. “They’re gonna come in probably before 8 o’clock, and you’re gonna see some big numbers there. And I think that will give us some indication on how Ohio’s going.”

Host Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperArkansas governor says 'divisive' Trump attacks on GOP officials are 'unhelpful' Arkansas governor: Veto on trans youth bill was a 'message of compassion and conservatism' Buttigieg: Lawmakers can call infrastructure package 'whatever they like' but 'it's good policy' MORE noted that the early vote results coming first could give the impression of a “blue mirage” of Democrats winning the state because more Democrats voted early than Republicans nationwide.

The president won Ohio by 8 percentage points in 2016, but DeWine and polls are predicting a closer race this year, prompting Tapper to ask if that’s a “red flag” for the Trump campaign.

“Well, look, we’re in the midst of a pandemic,” DeWine answered. “And this is a tough, tough time. And so you know, it’s gonna be closer. It’s not gonna be a blowout like it was in Ohio" in 2016.

“But the president is still going to do exceedingly well in what has historically been a Democrat area, the Ohio valley, eastern Ohio” as well as in “all the other rural counties.”

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DeWine added that the Trump campaign’s “ground game” in Ohio appeared “better” than the Biden campaign’s.

The RealClearPolitics average of polls over the last month in Ohio show Biden with a 0.2 percentage point lead over Trump, indicating the state is one to watch on election night.