----------PAST KEY RACES----------
2016: President, Senate
2014: Governor | OH-6 | OH-14
2012: President | Senate | OH-6 | OH-7 | OH-16
2010: Governor | Senate | OH-1 | OH-6 | OH-10 | OH-12 | OH-13 |OH-15 | OH-16 | OH-18
2008: President | OH-1 | OH-2 | OH-15 | OH-16
2006: Sen | Gov | OH-1 | OH-2 | OH-15 | OH-18
2004: President | Senate
|RCP Average||3/16 - 6/12||--||--||52.0||36.3||Brown +15.7|
|QuinnipiacQuinnipiac||6/7 - 6/12||1082 RV||3.7||51||34||Brown +17|
|SuffolkSuffolk||6/6 - 6/11||500 LV||4.4||53||37||Brown +16|
|WOIO-TV/SurveyUSASurveyUSA||3/16 - 3/20||1408 RV||3.5||52||38||Brown +14|
5/14/18 -- It’s no great surprise that Rep. Jim Renacci won the Republican primary in Ohio. Given how Republican Senate primaries have gone over the past few cycles, perhaps that counts as a bit of a surprise. Renacci starts out as an underdog to Sen. Sherrod Brown, but if President Trump’s job approval rating continues to rise, this could turn into a very competitive race.
The Buckeye State is a microcosm of the country as a whole. It contains everything: a slice of Appalachia in the southeast, farmland in the northwest, decaying industrial centers and new growth cities. For much of the past few decades, it has been a few points more Republican than the rest of the country, including 2008 when it went for Barack Obama by three points fewer than Obama's national average. The Republicans it has produced have been conservative, but they have generally been of the establishment-oriented sort who have substantial breaks with the conservative orthodoxy, like Mike DeWine and George Voinovich.
DeWine was defeated handily by liberal Democrat Sherrod Brown in 2006 -- a bad Republican year. Brown has cut a very liberal profile in Washington, yet his approval ratings have held up fairly well in this swing state. His opponent this cycle is state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who lost to Brown by a small-ish margin in 2012.
Brown is probably too liberal for the state, but he is a skilled politician, whose district was spared redistricting in 2000 because Gov. Bob Taft was afraid Brown would run against him. The state shifted rightward in the 2016 election, and the ultimate competitiveness of this race will probably be determined by whether or not those shifts were permanent, or whether they were an aberration.