Republican Mike DeWine wins Ohio governor race, CNN projects

Mike DeWine will keep the Ohio governor’s office in Republican hands, CNN projects, defeating Democrat Richard Cordray in a race that tested whether the rightward drift that helped President Donald Trump win Ohio by 9 percentage points could last.

The two were running to replace outgoing Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of Trump’s most strident critics within the GOP and a potential 2020 presidential primary challenger.

The 71-year-old DeWine is among the best-known figures in Ohio politics. The former senator, congressman and lieutenant governor is now attorney general.

Cordray, a 59-year-old former Ohio state treasurer and attorney general, returned to his home state after a stint as the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — a position to which he was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Polls showed the two deadlocked headed into election day even as Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown appeared poised to coast to re-election.

Among the issues at stake in the race was redistricting: The winner would sit on a state commission that draws state legislative and congressional districts, an authority that Republicans have used over the last decade to cement their majorities in what was, until 2016, a swing state in presidential elections.

Trump campaigned in Ohio on Monday, attempting to bolster Republicans. Cordray, meanwhile, closely aligned himself with Obama and campaigned with former Vice President Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, among other 2020 Democratic presidential prospects.