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Ohio Republicans take aim at 2016; Democrats say it just wasn't their year
By the end of the night, there was talk of Gov. Kasich on the presidential stage and the Democratic party chairman resigned
Story by ANDY CHOW AND JO INGLES
This story is part of a special series.


 
Ohio Gov. Kasich says the best is yet to come, and the GOP is becoming a bigger tent.
Courtesy of ANDY CHOW
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It was a big night for Republicans as the party swept all the statewide races. And the margins provide momentum for Gov. John Kasich’s second term. Meanwhile Democrats find themselves in a big state of unrest. Statehouse correspondents Andy Chow and Jo Ingles report on the election results from the perspectives of both parties. Andy reports first, from the Republican celebration.

 

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Gov. John Kasich took the stage to deliver his victory speech with energy and a clear message. He says Ohio voters are showing that the Republican Party is a more welcoming group that invites all sorts of people who may not have supported GOP issues in the past.

“By reaching out. By having a good head and building a strong economy but (also) a good heart that recognizes the struggle of those who often times have been left behind. People now in Ohio feel included. They feel optimistic. They feel hopeful.”

From Secretary of State Jon Husted and down the ticket, all the Republican winners said they must continue the momentum into 2016 — the next presidential election — where Kasich is thought to be a potential contender.

Mike DeWine, who was just re-elected as attorney general, believes Kasich or Ohio’s junior U.S. senator would have a good shot at being part of a national campaign.

“Ohio is a crucial state as we all know, which is why I think there’s a fairly decent chance we’ll see John Kasich or Rob Portman on the ticket.”

Kasich’s victory over Democratic Ed FitzGerald is second biggest gubernatorial win in modern-day Ohio politics.

Meanwhile, a look at the Dems from Jo Ingles
At the Ohio Democratic Party campaign headquarters, the mood was somber as gubernatorialnominee Ed FitzGerald, who had lagged far behind Gov. Kasich in recent polls, made his concession speech. He garnered only 33 percent of the vote while Kasich got 64 percent.

FitzGerald urged his volunteers to continue fighting for his proposals to improve education, the environment and to create good paying jobs in Ohio.

“We need you to persevere and continue to fight for all of those principles, not to benefit a specific politician or a specific campaign but for all of the people in Ohio who deserve so much more than they’re getting.”

FitzGerald was not alone. Every Democrat on the statewide ballot lost. Most of the party’s candidates trailed significantly in fundraising compared with the Republicans. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, who has been criticized by many in his own party for lacking leadership and organization in this campaign, said it was a sign of the times.

“I’m quite convinced that it wasn’t the lack of money raised, or the infrastructure (the activists, volunteers). It was a fact that during a second term presidential cycle, you will see what you see tonight nationally. It’s difficult. It was difficult for President Bush in 2006. It’s going to be difficult for Democrats tonight.”

The night was especially difficult for Redfern, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, who lost re-election to that position as well. And, at the end of the evening, Redfern issued a statement that he will step down from his post as the leader of the Ohio Democratic Party in mid-December.

 
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