The GOP has dominated Ohio politics for years. Going into last night, there were no statewide elected Democrats other than one member of the state Supreme Court (for which party affiliation is not noted on the ballot). No longer. The Democrats won all but one of the non-judicial statewide races. Given that most of these races were not particularly close, it seems clear that voters were sick of the corruption, incompetence, and unprincipled governance of the Ohio GOP during the Taft years.
Interestingly enough, Republicans won both state Supreme Court races, creating an all-Republican Court. One candidate, Terrence O'Donnell, was running for reelection. The other, Robert Cupp, won an open seat. The Court's lone Democrat, Justice Resnick, had not sought reelection, largely due to a DUI scandal. While the court will continue to be divided along ideological lines on many issues, such as school funding and tort reform, many cases that would have been 4-3 are now likely to be decided 5-2.
What explains the GOP success in judicial races? Is it due to judicial candidates lack of party identification on the ballot? Or is it something else peculiar about judicial races, such as the lack of issues (or, perhaps, lack of media attention)? Or do Ohio voters intuitively prefer more conservative jurists even as they give more liberal politicians a try? I am not sure, but it is an interesting aspect of last night's outcomes.