Ohio Governor Mike DeWine defeated a primary challenge from three other GOP candidates in the primary Tuesday. His win was accomplished as he benefited from a split field of challengers, who appeared to be dividing the anti-DeWine vote.

DeWine, who won in 2018 and took office in 2019, defeated a Republican primary field that included former Representative Jim Renacci, businessman and farmer Joe Blystone, and former state Representative Ron Hood.

An April survey from the Trafalgar Group, a GOP firm, showed DeWine leading with 40% support, followed by 26% for Renacci, 24% for Blystone and 2% for Hood.

A RealClearPolitics average of polls shortly before the May 3 primary showed DeWine leading the Republican primary field by 16.5 points. Those same polls indicated that if there had been just one anti-DeWine challenger, it would have been a much closer race.

DeWine, who has governed as a conservative, including the enactment of tax cuts and anti -abortion measures, sparked the anger of some activists for his approach to the COVID-19 pandemic. There was a wave of disgruntlement over his early coronavirus restrictions, including mask mandates and social distancing measures. The restrictions were lifted several months ago, but those actions were a frequent point of contention from his primary challengers, who argued he hurt business and cost jobs.

DeWine defended his approach as pragmatic, arguing that Ohio was one of the first states to implement these restrictions but also one of the first states to lift them. DeWine, 75, recently recovered from COVID-19 himself.

There was also a federal probe into an Ohio-based electric utility that ensnared people near his administration, though DeWine himself was never accused of wrongdoing.

DeWine historically was not viewed as much of a cultural warrior but, perhaps in an acknowledgement of his right-wing challengers, leaned into some causes popular with the right, including sending Ohio Highway Patrol troopers to the southern border.

DeWine has even missed one of President Trump’s rally’s bacon in June of 2021 saying he had family commitments and could not attend. DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted skipped Trump’s rally in late April of 2022 as well, in a sign of defiance, but will it scorn the 45th President enough to destroy them in public comments heading into the general election?

Trump did not pick or endorse a candidate for the Ohio GOP primary.

DeWine has a long history of holding elected office. Over his 40-plus-year political career, DeWine has been a state senator, House member, Lieutenant governor, and U.S. Senator. After DeWine lost his Senate in the 2006 Democratic wave, he made an unusual political comeback in 2010 by winning the Ohio attorney general’s office. He used that position as a springboard in 2018 to win the governorship.
This win means that DeWine will be in search of his second term against a Democrat adversary in November.

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