As midterm elections draw nearer, Ohio Democrats are trying to keep hopes of a "blue wave" alive, and they are encouraged by the most recent primary turnout. They're also celebrating poll numbers showing them with an edge in the gubernatorial race.
The Democratic Party gained more than twice as many new and party-switching voters as did the Republican Party during Ohio's 2018 primary elections, according to numbers released Thursday by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Ohio does not require voters to register with a party in order to be affiliated; rather, a voter is considered to be affiliated with whichever party's primary he or she chooses to vote in, The Associated Press reported.
Polls favor Democratic candidate
Recent polls show Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray leading Republican Mike DeWine by about 7 percentage points, a significant survey in a race that The Cook Political Report continues to rate as "Lean Republican" as recently as June 12.
And now the party is pulling in former Vice President Joe Biden to fundraise in Ohio next week to boost the effort.
"Our preliminary analysis after the primary showed record Democratic turnout for a midterm election in critical counties like Franklin, Hamilton and even Warren, and this final data on party-switchers from the 2018 primary election shows that Democratic energy and momentum is high," Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said in a statement, according to Cleveland.com.
Still, Republicans hold a significant advantage in overall turnout and voter registration. About 150,000 more Republicans voted in the primary, and there are 600,000 more registered Republicans in the state than Democrats.
To Republican Party spokesman Blaine Kelly, the numbers "prove that the 'blue wave' stops at the shores of Lake Erie."
By the numbers
- 61,974 previously affiliated Republicans switched over to the Democratic Party in the 2018 primary. 27,774 previously affiliated Democrats voted Republican.
- The Democratic Party gained 211,184 previously unaffiliated voters and 10,787 first-time voters. The GOP gained 198,213 previously unaffiliated voters and 8,037 first-time voters.
- The Republican Party has 2,043,219 affiliated voters, while the Democratic Party trails with only 1,436,637.