COLUMBUS — Turnout will be key Tuesday as Ohioans decide the competitive race for their next governor.
Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine, one of the state's best known politicians, faces Democrat Richard Cordray, the Obama-era consumer watchdog, for the chance to succeed term-limited Republican Gov. John Kasich.
Kasich remains popular in the closely divided state, but, as a vocal detractor of Republican President Donald Trump, his sway has been of limited help to DeWine.
DeWine, 71, has had to walk a careful line on both the governor and the president, instead relying on his long record of public service as a former lieutenant governor, congressman and U.S. senator.
Cordray, 59, joins other Democrats who seek to capitalize on citizen backlash against Trump.
He has spent the past year touting his record as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a position to which he was appointed by Democratic President Barack Obama. He's also a former state treasurer and attorney general.
Most polls showed the two statistically tied headed into Election Day, making voter turnout key. Two third-party candidates are also running: the Green Party's Constance Gadell-Newton and Libertarian Travis Irvine.
Ohio's next governor will sit on an influential new state commission tasked with redrawing state legislative districts after the 2020 census. Those districts help decide control of the Ohio General Assembly, which, in turn, draws Ohio's congressional maps.
The redistricting issue has further increased the national stakes in the race.
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