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The Latest: GOP retains control of Ohio House, Senate

November 7, 2018
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Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine, right, greets a voter outside the Green Township Senior Center, a voting precinct, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Cincinnati, Ohio. (AP Photo/Gary Landers)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The Latest on Election Day in Ohio. (all times local):

12:01 a.m.

Republicans have retained their supermajority in the Ohio House, despite Democrats’ hopes that strong candidates and national momentum would help them cut into GOP legislative majorities.

With nearly all races called, House Republicans had secured at least 64 of 99 House seats, more than the 60 votes needed to flex powers like overriding vetoes and more easily placing constitutional amendments before voters. Democrats picked up three Republican seats, while Republicans took one held by a Democrat.

With Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine also retaining the party’s control of the governor’s office, outnumbered Democrats will continue to have little sway over state law-making. DeWine defeated Democrat Richard Cordray, the former federal consumer protection chief, in the governor’s race Tuesday.

Republicans, as expected, also retained control of the Ohio Senate.

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11:20 p.m.

Democrats have won both Ohio Supreme Court seats up for election, cutting into total GOP control of the court.

Tuesday’s election results show that Democratic challenger Judge Melody Stewart, a Cleveland appeals court judge, defeated Republican incumbent Justice Mary DeGenaro, of suburban Youngstown, on Tuesday. DeGenaro was appointed by Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik) earlier this year.

In the court’s open race, Democrat Judge Michael Donnelly, of Cleveland, beat GOP appeals court Judge Craig Baldwin, of Newark.

The winners join five GOP justices on the state high court and along with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown were the only Democrats winning statewide races.

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11:03 p.m.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine has defeated Obama-era consumer protection chief Richard Cordray in the race for Ohio governor.

The 71-year-old DeWine’s win over Cordray on Tuesday puts him in an influential position as a key swing state draws new legislative and congressional maps and makes its 2020 pick for president.

The takeaway for Republican President Donald Trump is unclear. The victory comes after DeWine’s 11th hour embrace of both Republican President Donald Trump and GOP Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a key detractor.

DeWine walked a careful line on the president, choosing instead to tout his own long record of public service, including as lieutenant governor, congressman and U.S. senator.

Former President Barack Obama campaigned for Cordray and other Democrats, arguing Democratic wins were needed as a check and balance on Congress and the White House.

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10:55 p.m.

A fledgling Ohio congressman who was backed by President Donald Trump and Gov. John Kasich (KAY’-sik), a Trump critic, has won his congressional rematch, retaining a coveted open House seat for Republicans.

Voters on Tuesday picked U.S. Rep. Troy Balderson, of Zanesville, over Democratic Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, for the second time since August. That means he’ll serve the next full term representing the 12th District formerly held by Republican ex-U.S. Rep. Pat Tiberi (TEE’-behr-ee), who retired in January.

Balderson’s close victory came as Republicans were concerned about how Trump is playing in swing states. O’Connor was considered a long shot in the district, held by Republicans for nearly 35 years.

Kasich represented the district before Tiberi.

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10:40 p.m.

Republican state Rep. Keith Faber (FAY’-bur) has been elected Ohio auditor, defeating former U.S. Rep. Zack Space on Tuesday to lead the staff that audits thousands of public offices, including cities, state agencies and schools.

Faber, a 52-year-old lawyer from Celina, has advocated additional performance audits to boost government efficiency and cost savings.

Faber argued against using the role for political purposes after Space suggested the office could review how Ohio has been affected by trade deals and the saga of its largest online charter school, the now-defunct Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

During the campaign, both men faced questions about tax payment problems. Space’s campaign cited administrative errors for two tax penalties in his past. A bookkeeper took responsibility for tardy tax payments tied to Faber.

Faber succeeds two-term Republican Dave Yost.

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10:37 p.m.

Republican Sen. Frank LaRose has won the race for Ohio Secretary of State.

Voting returns from Tuesday show LaRose defeated Democrat Kathleen Clyde, a state representative from Kent.

The 39-year-old LaRose will replace Secretary of State Jon Husted (HYOO’-sted), who ran on the Republican ticket for governor.

LaRose has been in the state Senate since 2011 and before that served in the U.S. Army Special Forces.

He has said in recent interviews he wants to change how the state aggressively trims its voter rolls by targeting people who haven’t voted in a while.

But he also supports the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that upheld Ohio’s methods of pruning voters in a case closely watched around the nation.

LaRose also has backed efforts to replace aging voting machines in Ohio.

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10:35 p.m.

A veteran Republican congressman has been elected to a 12th term after a heated challenge by a Democrat who drew national attention.

The GOP’s Steve Chabot (SHA’-but) of Cincinnati held off Aftab Pureval (AF’-tab PYUR’-vawl) in Tuesday’s election.

The 36-year-old Pureval was coming off a major local upset in 2016, when he unseated the Republican incumbent clerk of courts for Hamilton County. He also drew attention as the son of immigrants: a Tibet-born mother and India-born father.

The 65-year-old Chabot lost in 2008 as Democrat Barack Obama was elected president, but won his seat back in 2010. Redistricting then put Republican-dominated Warren County just northeast of Cincinnati into his district. President Donald Trump campaigned there Oct. 12 with Chabot.

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10:30 p.m.

Ohio’s Republican state Auditor Dave Yost has defeated a former Democratic federal prosecutor to become the state’s next attorney general.

Yost and Democrat Steve Dettelbach traded barbs on health care, clergy abuse in the Roman Catholic church, a failed charter school and the state’s unrelenting opioid crisis during the run-up to Tuesday’s vote.

Yost campaigned on his efforts to fight public corruption in the state and to keep special interests out of the lawmaking process. Dettelbach highlighted his efforts as U.S. attorney for northern Ohio to combat human trafficking and drug trafficking.

This was Dettelbach’s first bid for elected office. He served as U.S. attorney for northern Ohio from 2009 to 2016. Before being elected state auditor in 2010, Yost served as Delaware county auditor and prosecutor.

10:25 p.m.

Republican state Rep. Robert Sprague has been elected Ohio treasurer, defeating attorney Rob Richardson on Tuesday for the office tasked with collecting taxes and managing the state’s investment portfolio.

The 45-year-old Sprague’s platform centered on financing drug addiction treatments and improving the transparency of state spending. He has served as city auditor and treasurer in his northwest Ohio hometown of Findlay.

During the campaign, Democratic candidate Richardson faced legal questions about his handling of money. Court records show the 39-year-old attorney’s then-wife accused him of hiding money in a private account before their divorce. Richardson’s campaign said the allegation was unsubstantiated.

The state treasurer’s office managed more than $224 billion in fiscal year 2017, including an investment portfolio of more than $21.5 billion.

Sprague succeeds two-term Republican Josh Mandel, who is term-limited.

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9:10 p.m.

Voters have rejected an Ohio constitutional amendment to make possession of all types of drugs misdemeanors in an effort to reduce the state prison population and divert savings to drug treatment.

Most judicial and law enforcement groups opposed the measure known as Issue 1. And it became a point of debate in the Ohio governor’s race, with Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine opposed and Democratic candidate Richard Cordray supporting it.

Supporters argued Issue 1 would have saved tens of millions of dollars in prison costs, money that would be dedicated not only to drug treatment but to crime victim programs, as well.

Opponents balked at the prospect of basically decriminalizing possession of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid blamed for thousands of overdose deaths in Ohio.

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8:55 p.m.

An Ohio elections official says a paper jam caused an issue with a voter whose paper ballot appeared to show a different selection for governor.

A video posted to Instagram showed a voter in Franklin County in central Ohio making a touch-screen selection for Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine but it appearing instead on a paper record as a vote for Democratic candidate Richard Cordray.

Aaron Sellers is a spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections. He says the machine in question had a paper jam that showed a previous voter’s choice. Sellers says the voter who experienced the problem got a poll worker to cancel out on the machine in question and then voted successfully on another machine.

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8:45 p.m.

A woman who during the 2016 presidential election accused Donald Trump of sexually harassing her more than a decade ago has lost her bid for a seat in Ohio’s legislature.

Democrat Rachel Crooks lost on Tuesday to incumbent Republican state Rep. Bill Reineke (RY’-nuh-kee) in her first attempt at a public office.

The former Trump Tower receptionist said she met Trump in 2006 and that she was 22 when she says he kissed her “directly on the mouth” against her will.

Trump denied the accusations when they first surfaced a month before the 2016 election.

Crooks says she decided to run in Ohio’s Republican-leaning 88th House District partly because she thinks Trump escaped consequences for harassment alleged by her and others.

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8:15 p.m.

A Democratic U.S. senator who’s in his fifth decade of Ohio politics has been elected to a third term.

Sherrod Brown on Tuesday defeated fourth-term U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (ruh-NAY’-see), who dropped a governor’s bid to run for Senate at Trump’s urging.

The 65-year-old Brown won his first election to the state’s House in 1974 and unseated Republican Sen. Mike DeWine in 2006. With a history of blue-collar appeal and union support, Brown has backed Trump moves on steel tariffs and renegotiating trade agreements.

The 59-year-old Renacci, a businessman, called Brown a liberal out of touch with Ohio values.

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8:05 p.m.

An Ohio elections official says a paper jam caused an issue with a voter whose paper ballot appeared to show a different selection for governor.

A voter in Franklin County in central Ohio posted an Instagram video that showed a touch-screen selection for Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine appearing on paper as the Democratic candidate, Richard Cordray.

Aaron Sellers is a spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections. He says the machine in question had a paper jam that showed a previous voter’s choice. Sellers says the voter who experienced the problem was moved to another machine and cast a ballot successfully.

A few other problems were reported at polling places in Lucas and Hamilton counties, where elections officials say the issues have been resolved.

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7:30 p.m.

Polls have closed in Ohio as vote counting gets underway in a number of closely watched races.

Votes in the midterm election include ballots cast Tuesday as well as thousands cast through early voting over the past month. Polls closed at 7:30 p.m. Ohioans are choosing a new slate of statewide officeholders, including governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state and treasurer.

Voters also cast ballots in the U.S. Senate race pitching two-term incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown against GOP U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (reh-NAY’-see).

The election also included a ballot issue reducing sentences for certain lower-level drug crimes, two state Supreme Court races, seats in the Ohio House and Senate, and 16 congressional races.

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6:30 p.m.

A federal judge has ordered a county elections board in Ohio to deliver absentee ballot applications and ballots to two jail inmates named in a lawsuit seeking emergency ballots for Ohioans in police custody through Election Day.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by three voting rights groups on behalf of two Montgomery County Jail inmates. The Campaign Legal Center, MacArthur Justice Center and Demos requested officials statewide be required to notify detainees of their rights to submit absentee ballots.

The lawsuit argues recently jailed inmates are denied their constitutional right to vote because they’re in custody with no voting options.

The state delivers ballots to jailed Ohioans, but the deadline for requesting such ballots passed Friday.

There was no answer to calls to Montgomery County’s board Tuesday.

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6 p.m.

An Ohio elections official says a paper jam caused an issue with a voter whose paper ballot appeared to show a different selection for governor.

A voter in Franklin County in central Ohio posted an Instagram video that showed a touch-screen selection for Ohio Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine appearing on paper as the Democratic candidate, Richard Cordray.

Aaron Sellers is a spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections. He says the machine in question had a paper jam and was taken offline. Sellers says the voter was moved to another machine and cast a ballot successfully.

A few other problems were reported at polling places in Lucas and Hamilton counties, where elections officials say the issues have been resolved.

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4:00 p.m.

Some voters in Ohio say Republican President Donald Trump was a factor when casting their Election Day ballots.

Kevin Benson, a 38-year-old graphic designer from Westerville, says he’s registered as a Republican, considers himself an independent, and voted all Democrat Tuesday. He says that’s mostly because of Trump, adding he’s “frustrated” with the way the president is acting.

Grant Stitzlein, a 30-year-old registered Republican, says he followed Trump’s advice when casting his ballot in the Columbus suburb of Dublin. Stitzlein says he voted for Republicans in an effort to “make America great again.”

Seventy-one-year-old Linda Bishop from Westerville says she voted for candidates from both major parties but stuck with Democrats in the gubernatorial and congressional races. She says her disapproval of Trump was a factor in her voting

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3:00 p.m.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office says more than 1.3 million people voted ahead of Tuesday’s election, far outpacing the number of votes cast early statewide four years ago.

Officials say that through Monday, nearly 885,000 absentee ballots had been received by mail statewide and that 430,000 people voted early in person. That compares with around 719,000 people mailing in ballots in 2014 and 146,000 people voting early in person, for a total of about 865,000.

Just over 1 million votes were cast early in 2010.

The total number of votes cast statewide in 2014 was 3.1 million compared with nearly 4 million in 2010.

Around 8 million Ohioans are registered to vote.

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1:30 p.m.

A few problems were reported at polling places in at least two Ohio counties, where elections officials say the issues have been resolved.

Lucas County’s Board of Elections in Toledo says at least three sites had technical problems Tuesday morning involving setup of electronic poll books. Board Director LaVera Scott says some callers reported being asked to wait instead of receiving backup paper ballots. She says the issues were resolved.

Some Hamilton County voters encountered problems in downtown Cincinnati and other sites when voting machines appeared to reject some ballots not completely filled out. Board of Elections Director Sherry Poland says a new change alerts voters if some races are left blank. They must press the “cast ballot” button to finish voting. Workers were assigned at all locations to help with that.

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9:00 a.m.

State election officials say voting appeared to be going smoothly at polls in Ohio early on Election Day.

A spokesman for Ohio’s Secretary of State’s Office said no major problems were reported in the first few hours of voting Tuesday. Spokesman Sam Rossi said the state had no turnout predictions yet.

Polls opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and will close at 7:30 p.m.

State election officials say more than 1.4 million absentee ballots had been requested and more than 1.3 million ballots had been cast by mail and in person at the close of in-person absentee voting Monday. At that same point during 2014 absentee voting, nearly one million absentee ballots had been requested and more than 813,000 were cast.

Democrats are trying to turn a recent Republican tide in Ohio’s statewide races.

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5:40 a.m.

Democrats in Ohio are trying to turn a recent Republican tide in statewide races, relying on a ticket led by a familiar U.S. senator and a competitive governor candidate.

Sherrod Brown, first elected to Ohio office in 1974, seeks his third Senate term against fourth-term U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci (ruh-NAY’-see). Richard Cordray, President Barack Obama’s appointee as federal consumer protection chief, is in a tight governor’s race with Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine. It’s a rematch of the 2010 election when DeWine narrowly ousted Cordray to become attorney general.

Republicans have dominated recent statewide elections, capped by Republican Donald Trump’s decisive 8-point victory for president over Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Ohioans are choosing four other statewide officeholders, two Supreme Court justices and deciding a statewide drug sentencing ballot issue.

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For AP’s complete coverage of the U.S. midterm elections: http://apne.ws/APPolitics

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