The quietest Ohio midterm race is also the most important

In this edition of The Middle, a look at why the governor’s race in Ohio is one of the most important in the country.

By Alex Kamczyc / Edited by Julie Riedel

On paper it looks like vanilla pudding vs. bread pudding.

The Ohio midterm race to replace John Kasich as governor hasn’t attracted as much attention as the Senate race has (thanks in large part to the candidates not attacking each other’s personal lives, looking at you Jim Renacci). You won’t see Jake Tapper or Shep Smith mention it too much in the news cycle and it damn sure doesn’t get the social media coverage like the races in Florida or Texas. I don’t blame them either, in the past few days there have been more important things to cover.

I urge you to remember Ohio.

Especially the governor’s race, which has been declared a tossup. It matters because whoever wins the election can affect the national conversation for at least two of the major issues debated today; abortion rights and the opioid crisis.

Mike DeWine, a champion of pro-life rights, may just be the tool republicans need to finally put the final nail in the 45 year old debate. Ohio has long been considered an experiment state for lawmakers looking to put an end to abortions.

Last year, the Heartbeat Bill was introduced which would prevent mothers and doctors from participating in an abortion past the six-week mark in a pregnancy. John Kasich did not sign that bill (but did sign other measures making it harder to get an abortion) but Mike DeWine said in an interview that he would.

This year Ohio GOP lawmakers introduced a controversial bill that could have banned abortions even if they were cases of rape, incest or cause harm to the woman’s health. It would bring criminal charges to both the woman and the doctor involved in an abortion, which would have been considered a homicide if the law passed, it did not.

The reason this matters is because if a bill like this were to pass, lawsuits would be filed left and right. Giving GOP lawmakers the chance to possibly bring a case to the Supreme Court to re-examine Roe V. Wade.

DeWine is the perfect launching point for pro-life activists, because of his willingness to bring anti-abortion laws into the spot light, no matter how unconstitutional. Something that seems more than viable now that the Supreme Court majority is conservative, thanks to the recent swearing in of Justice Kavanaugh.


On the other hand, you have Richard Cordray who ‘s running with a new plan that would reduce* all drug possession charges to misdemeanors and do away with jail time for all except frequent and dangerous offenders. The move is estimated to keep around 10,000 people out of jail, saving the state close to $100 million which would then be redirected into programs aimed at rehabilitation and support groups.

However, some have argued that this proposal would give dealers new chances to get back on the streets sooner. By reducing these crimes from felonies to misdemeanors, you’re essentially offering a slap on the wrist, though Cordray has said he would work with law enforcement to ensure drug dealers stay in jail.

Glossing over a complex issue also leads to complications with systems that are already in place to combat Ohio’s opioid crisis. Things like our drug court systems, which have been effective in combating our drug problem by threatening prison to leverage going to rehab and drug treatment facilities instead.

It’s not just DeWine who’s using this issue to say that Cordray is too liberal for Ohio. His own party is against him on this radical proposal.

Do you know how crazy that is to have the Democrats tell you that you’re too liberal?

Crazy fate-of-our-country issues aside, this election also matters because whoever wins this election gets to redraw Ohio’s districts, notoriously gerrymandered by republicans in 2011, that could either swing Ohio blue or plunge it deeper red for future elections.

Mostly, this race comes down to where your political ideals will line up. Here are the platforms that the two major candidates are running on for the election:

-Mike DeWine has run his platform on pretty much the same things Cordray has. For combating the opioid problem in Ohio he has proposed a 12 point plan aimed at improving drug task forces already in place, while also increasing substance abuse education in grades K-12. He wants to guarantee coverage for pre-existing conditions (it should be noted that he was one of the republicans that joined a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act in 2011) while also reducing the cost of health care. He also wants to work on providing more jobs for the people of Ohio through things like regional job training partnerships, designing a job match making application that connects people seeking work to businesses that are hiring.

-Richard Cordray also wants to fight the opioid addiction problem in Ohio through embracing ballots like the one mentioned previously. On top of that, Cordray wants to protect Medicare expansion in Ohio, improving the choice of healthcare providers and lowering costs of healthcare while also investing in the healthcare industry. He also wants to toughen up on gun control through things like requiring universal background checks, banning the sell of bump stocks and high capacity ammo clips, as well as raising the age to buy firearms to 21.

However, either way you slice it, you’re getting a cut of an extreme ideology that not everyone is on board with. The possibility of Roe V. Wade being overturned and the possibility of weaker criminal enforcement on one of the worst drug epidemics our country has ever seen.

So when it comes to what you would rather have; vanilla pudding or bread pudding, both coming with bland and unimpressive flavors.

It’s about which one you can swallow easier.

*All information for this passage found at link provided

Alex Kamczyc is an award winning journalist covering politics and culture in Cleveland. He studied at Kent State University under Connie Schultz.

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