Ohio midterm elections: House and Senate seats, candidates, issues and more

In a matter of days, a handful of states will determine which political party gains control of the 118th United States Congress. 

Nationally, polls show several races across the country tightening as Democrats lose ground in key races to decide the fate of the Senate, including in Arizona, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, New Hampshire and Ohio. The midterm elections will put 35 Senate seats, 435 House seats and 36 gubernatorial seats in play.

However, in the key state of Ohio, Republicans are battling to retain their control over the governorship, some House offices and one of the state’s Senate seats. For the last 20 years, Ohio has generally been considered a purple swing state at the federal level.

In the last few election cycles, Republicans have made key gains, winning all statewide elected executive offices, including the governor’s mansion, attorney general and secretary of state. In addition, former President Trump won Ohio in a landslide against Joe Biden in 2020 and by more than 10 points in 2016 against Hillary Clinton. Now Democrats are hoping to make some strides in the state by winning the open Senate seat. 

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Like everywhere in the country, the general election in Ohio begins Nov. 8, 2022, but early voting will be open starting Nov. 3. On Election Day, polls will be open to the public from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m. However, individuals who are still in line at 7:30 will be allowed to vote if they choose to stay. To be eligible to vote in a federal, local or statewide election in Ohio, voters must provide valid proof of identification with a photo and name. 

In the Ohio midterm election, voters will pick candidates for the state’s 15 congressional districts, Senate, governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, treasurer and secretary of state.

About the Senate midterm election candidates:

JD Vance, author of the bestselling book “Hillbilly Elegy,” is the Republican contender running for Ohio’s Senate seat against Democratic Rep. Tim Ryan, a longtime Ohio congressman and former Democratic 2020 presidential primary contender. Following the announced retirement of current Republican Sen. Rob Portman, the seat became an open spot for Democrats to expand their slim majority in Congress. 

In the last Senate election in Ohio, Portman won the seat by over 21 points against his Democratic opponent. Vance is backed financially by billionaire Peter Thiel and received former President Trump’s endorsement during a contentious Republican primary. 

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Ohio is a critical state that Republicans must maintain to stop Democrats from advancing their current majority in the Senate. Vance is one of two candidates Thiel is funding in a swing state. 

If Vance wins, it could expand Thiel’s influence within the GOP and change the partisan makeup of the Senate. During the Trump administration, Portman was generally viewed as a moderate Republican. Vance has firmly endorsed Trump’s positions on trade, immigration and voter fraud. According to Real Clear Politics, Vance is ahead of Ryan by a polling average of 3.3%. 

Republican Ohio Senate nominee JD Vance, right, campaigns alongside Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Vance's race is key in determining post-midterm Senate control.

Republican Ohio Senate nominee JD Vance, right, campaigns alongside Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. Vance’s race is key in determining post-midterm Senate control. (AP Photo/Phil Long)

About the House midterm election candidates:

Ohio has a total of 15 congressional seats that will be up for a vote Tuesday. However, only a handful of those seats are considered likely to change parties on Election Day. The 1st district of Ohio is probably one of the closest House elections in the state and the best chance Democrats may have of swinging a seat in their favor come November. 

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Incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Chabot is facing off against Democratic challenger Greg Landsman, a member of the Cincinnati City Council. Chabot previously won the district in 2020 by a slim majority and has previously served in and out of Congress since 2008. The seat is considered a toss-up, although polling indicates that Chabot is slightly favored to win. Republicans only need to pick up a net of five seats in the House to regain a majority, so District 1 is essential for Democrats to flip. Landsman has run his campaign on protecting abortion rights, lowering inflation and protecting union jobs. 

About the midterm election candidates for governor:

Ohio is one of the 36 states holding gubernatorial elections, with incumbent Republican Gov. Mike DeWine running against Democratic contender Nan Whaley, the former mayor of Dayton. DeWine was elected to the governor’s mansion in 2019 and had previously served as the state’s attorney general and as a congressman for Ohio’s 7th district. DeWine governs with a Republican trifecta government, meaning the party’s candidates control all elected statewide executive positions and a majority in the state legislature. 

Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is running for a second term against Democrat challenger Nan Whaley in a race he is likely to win. 

Republican Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine is running for a second term against Democrat challenger Nan Whaley in a race he is likely to win.  (AP Photo/David Richard)

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DeWine has raised more than double the Whaley has at more than $19 million. 

The state is considered a solid Republican hold with all polling showing DeWine with a comfortable lead over his Democratic opponent. DeWine has made his fight against the opioid epidemic in Ohio the centerpiece of his re-election campaign. 

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