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Election day survival kit

Issue date: 10/29/10 Section: News
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Election day is Tuesday, November 2. Your ballot will likely be two or three pages long. Be prepared. Here's a guide to the statewide races this year. If you are registered to vote at your campus address, you'll find all of these candidates on your ballot. If you're registered outside of Ohio, your state's secretary of state website will have a utility to look up the candidates on your ballot.

Learn More

To learn more about these candidates, start with the candidate's website. Pay attention not only to the issues they talk about, but also which issues they place the most emphasis on. Read the newspaper endorsements in each race - even if you don't trust endorsements, the reasoning each paper describes will frequently mention the key issues and campaign details in each race, which can then be explored in more detail. The third-party ratings of judges displayed at are a good way to learn more about these normally obscure races, and will attempt to match your judicial opinions with the candidates. will do the same for the non-judicial races.

Governor / Lt. Governor

Ted Strickland / Yvette McGee Brown (Democrat)

Previous elected office: Governor (2007-present), US Congress (1993-1995, 1997-2007)

Originally elected in a landslide over Secretary of State Ken Blackwell in 2006, Strickland has a campaign for re-election that has proven far more difficult than the race that won him the governorship. Faced with a weak economy and a national environment toxic to most Democrats, Strickland has emphasized his conservative side (he picked up the National Rifle Association endorsement in the race) while pounding John Kasich for his job at Lehman Brothers during the financial collapse.

John Kasich / Mary Taylor (Republican)

Previous Elected Office: US Congressman (1983-2001), Ohio Senate (1979-1982)

John Kasich, having spent almost a decade outside elected office, is staging a comeback in a big way with his campaign for governor. He spent the past years working for Lehman Brothers and appearing as a host on FOX News with his show "Heartland with John Kasich." The Strickland campaign's attempts to tie Kasich to Lehman Brothers have stuck, but Kasich has found his campaign's own charge against his opponent - Ohio's 400,000 lost jobs during Strickland's tenure - an extremely effective line of attack. Kasich's policy proposals center around eliminating the state's income tax, though Kasich has not specified exactly how he would make up for the lost revenue. Kasich has held a decent lead in most polls since mid-summer.

Other candidates

Ken Matesz / Margaret Ann Leech (Libertarian)

Dennis S. Spisak / Anita Rios (Green)

David L. Sargent / Andrew C. Pfeifer (write-in)

Attorney General

Mike DeWine

Previous elected office: US senator (1995-2007), Lieutenant governor (1991-1994), US Congress (1983-1991), Ohio Senate (1981-1982)

After losing his Senate seat in 2006 to Sherrod Brown, DeWine returned briefly to private practice and education before beginning his campaign for attorney general in the summer of 2009. DeWine's campaign has largely centered around two issues: a claim that the Attorney General's office is slow in processing DNA evidence, and a pledge to join the state lawsuits opposing the new federal healthcare law as unconstitutional. DeWine's charge about DNA evidence was rated "half-true" by PolitiFact, but his stance on healthcare is playing well in the conservative areas of Ohio. His is a name Ohioans recognize, having previously won three statewide elections.

Richard Cordray (Democrat)

Previous elected office: Ohio House (1991-1992), treasurer (2007-2009), attorney general (2009-present)

Cordray won a special election in 2008 to fill out the final two years of Mark Dann's term as AG and is now seeking re-election to his first full term. Cordray has been running a campaign largely focused on his accomplishments, including recovering approximately $1 billion from various companies involved in the financial industry. Though he has overstated his record on the campaign trail, all of Ohio's newspapers agree that his record is strong enough to merit a full term, winning the endorsement of the five papers who have weighed in on the race.

Other candidates

Marc Allan Feldman (Libertarian)

Robert M. Owens (Constitution)

Secretary of State

Jon Husted

Previous elected office: Ohio Senate (2009-present), Ohio House (2001-2009)

Husted's campaign got off to a rocky start in late 2008 when his residency in his Senate district was questioned. A tied local panel sent the case to the Secretary of State to cast the tie-breaking vote, where Jennifer Garrison, a Democrat, ruled he did not live in the district he represented. The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously overruled her decision. Husted's calls for job creation and debt reduction, in addition to his own plans to reform Ohio's legislative redistricting process, have earned Husted the endorsement of every Ohio newspaper so far.

Maryellen O'Shaughnessy (Democrat)

Previous elected office: Franklin County Clerk of Common Pleas Court (2009-present), Columbus City Council (1997-2009)

O'Shaughnessy has only recently become the Democratic candidate for secretary of State, after Ohio House member Jennifer Garrison withdrew from the race last summer. O'Shaughnessy's campaign pledges emphasize her plan to change the way Ohio does legislative redistricting, as well as a promise to serve only two terms. Every Ohio secretary of state since the 1980s has made a run for higher office from the position, so if O'Shaughnessy keeps her promise it will be a significant change. In fact, she's used her opponent's elected experience of her opponent as a line of attack. O'Shaughnessy has struggled to raise cash.

Other Candidates

Charles R. Earl (Libertarian)

Treasurer of State

Josh Mandel

Previous elected office: Ohio House (2007-present)

If you've heard of one race in Ohio other than the Senate and governor's, it's probably the treasurer's race. Mandel made headlines around the state when his campaign aired an ad alleging that incumbent Kevin Boyce was a Muslim who handed out jobs at his mosque. The ad was widely criticized for attempting to exploit anti-Muslim biases, and the Mandel campaign stopped airing it. Mandel's campaign image revolves around his service in the Marines, where he served two terms in Iraq.

Kevin Boyce

Previous elected office: Columbus City Council (2000-2009)

Boyce was appointed treasurer by Governor Strickland in 2009, after incumbent Cordray was elected attorney general. Boyce's campaign has made some highly exaggerated claims about his record, including a statement that his office created 55,000 jobs, a statement PolitiFact rated "Pants on Fire," their worst rating. Boyce has also received criticism for allegedly giving jobs and business to friends. The race has split the major newspapers, and the Plain Dealer even endorsed the Libertarian candidate.

Other candidates

Matthew P. Cantrell (Libertarian)

Auditor of State

Dave Yost

Previous elected office: Delaware County Prosecutor (2003-present), Delaware County Auditor (1999-2003)

In his first bid for statewide office, Yost has positioned himself comfortably amongst conservatives, touting his endorsements by the Buckeye Firearms Association, Ohio Right to Life, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell on his website. Yost has called for the repeal of the federal healthcare law and a full performance audit of every state agency. The Columbus Dispatch said "[Yost's] history lends confidence that he can help guide state and local governments through challenging times, with competence and professionalism" in its endorsement.

David Pepper

Previous elected office: Hamilton County Commissioner (2006-present)

When Pepper entered the race in 2009, he was expecting to face the incumbent, Mary Taylor. When Taylor was selected as Kasich's running mate, Pepper had a chance to focus on his general election campaign while the Republican field was sorted out in the primary election. Ohioans have recently shown a penchant for electing the "out" party to the Auditor position, as Taylor was the only Republican elected statewide in her 2006 victory. With the Republicans seeming likely to win most other races, Pepper might flip the roles and be Ohio's only statewide Democrat come 2011. His campaign pledges - fighting to fix a "broken Columbus" - sound odd considering that his party is in control.

Other Candidates

L. Michael Howard (Libertarian)

Chief Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court

Maureen O'Connor (Republican)

Previous judicial experience: Ohio Supreme Court (2003-present), Summit County Court of Common Pleas (1993-1995)

O'Connor, in addition to her judicial experience, served as Ohio's lieutenant governor from 1999-2003 under governor Bob Taft. A recent change in Ohio law allows judges to openly identify with the party that endorsed them, but their party will not appear on the ballot.

Eric Brown

Previous judicial experience: Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice (2010-present), Franklin County Probate Court Judge (2009-2010), Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge (2005-2008)

Brown was already running for Chief Justice when the incumbent Chief Justice, Thomas Moyer, died during the summer. Governor Strickland appointed Brown to the seat, making him the incumbent.

How To Vote

You have two options for voting this close to the election. You can cast an absentee vote in-person at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections (about a 10-minute ride downtown on the Health Line) through Monday, or vote at your polling place on Tuesday between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. The CC BoE website lists in-person voting hours and provides a tool to find your election day voting location. ID is required ; acceptable forms of ID are listed on the website.
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Viewing Comments 1 - 2 of 2

    Marc Allan Feldman

    posted 10/29/10 @ 8:55 AM EST

    Why are there no descriptions for the Libertarian, Constitution, and Green party candidates?
    This may be the best year ever to send a message to the Democrats and the Republicans that politics-as-usual is not acceptable. (Continued…)

    Details   Reply to this comment


    posted 10/29/10 @ 1:46 PM EST

    It's a shame that the overview submits to the two party idea of American politics. It would have been nice to see reviews of minority party candidates, even though they are not polling strong. (Continued…)

    Details   Reply to this comment

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