Governor candidates hit southwest Ohio ahead of Election Day

Richard Cordray in Dayton Sunday, Mike DeWine in West Chester, Yellow Springs Monday

Ohio’s wild — and at times, nasty — races for governor come to a close Tuesday as Democrats and Republicans make their picks at the polls.

And once again southwest Ohio is in the middle of all of it.

Richard Cordray, the Democratic front-runner, made one of his last campaign stops of the race in Dayton Sunday afternoon.

Republican frontrunner Mike DeWine was in Dayton Friday and will be in West Chester Twp. Monday before holding his final rally tonight at Young’s Dairy in Yellow Springs, near his home.

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Republican voters have a choice between DeWine and Mary Taylor, both long-time statewide officeholders with conservative credentials and enough personal money that they loaned $1 million and $3 million, respectively, to their campaigns. The battle between the two has been particularly bruising with name calling and accusations lobbed from both sides for weeks.

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President Donald Trump may not physically be on the ballot Tuesday, but he has been the dominant force in the Republican primary where millions has been spent on television and radio advertising. Trump won Ohio by nearly 9 points in 2016 and DeWine and Taylor are fighting to get the voters who supported him to back them this year.

On the Democratic side, top contenders are Richard Cordray, former attorney general and first head of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Dennis Kucinich, a former Congressman-turned-Fox News commentator. Both men are long-time figures on Ohio’s political landscape: Kucinich was first elected to Cleveland City Council in 1969 while Cordray first ran for statewide office in 1998.

Second tier candidates include state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, a lawyer from near Youngstown who has struggled to boost his statewide profile, and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill who is still trying to live down a boast on Facebook that he slept with 50 women. Also in the race are Larry Ealy of Dayton and Paul Ray of Alliance, neither of whom appear to be actively campaigning.

What’s facing next governor?

The next governor faces daunting challenges: whether to continue expanded Medicaid, which provides health care for 725,000 low-income Ohioans; fix the chronically under-funded unemployment compensation fund; and find new ways to address an opioid addiction crisis that killed more than 4,000 people in 2016.

Plus there are the everyday burdens of running the seventh largest state in the country, such as operating prisons, collecting taxes, patroling and maintaining roads, running an education system and regulating industries.

The candidates in both primaries were scheduled to campaign throughout the weekend. Kucinich was expected to campaign with actor Danny Glover and former state senator Nina Turner. DeWine and his running mate Jon Husted were scheduled to continue their “Rock Solid Conservative Tour” while Taylor scheduled voter meet-and-greet events. The Cordray campaign plans a get-out-the-vote rally in Columbus on Monday night.

EARLY VOTING ENDS MONDAY

You have a few hours Monday to still vote early at your county board of elections office.

Polls will be open Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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