COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican John Kasich has coasted to a second term as Ohio's governor by defeating Democrat Ed FitzGerald.

The outcome keeps a high-profile Republican in charge of a state that will be a key battleground in the 2016 presidential election.

Tuesday's victory was expected after a series of campaign missteps by the FitzGerald left him seriously behind in polls and fundraising.

Early on, the 62-year-old Kasich was seen as vulnerable largely because of political fallout from a collective-bargaining battle he lost against public employee unions in 2011.

Kasich ran on his record of job creation in the wake of a punishing recession and his efforts to rein in Ohio government spending and cut taxes. His name has figured in the discussion of possible 2016 White House contenders.