- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 5, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Highlights from Tuesday’s Ohio elections:

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DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY

Ohio’s Democrats will try to regroup behind a new leader after a Republican rout that saw Gov. John Kasich’s landslide re-election lead a statewide GOP sweep.

With all the major races called late Tuesday, state Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern announced that he’ll leave his post in mid-December. Criticism of the party leadership grew as it became apparent that its chosen governor’s candidate, Cuyahoga County Ed FitzGerald, hadn’t been thoroughly vetted after such disclosures as that he lacked a permanent driver’s license for more than a decade.



Adding to a bad night: Redfern lost his own state House seat.

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SITTING IT OUT

A lot of Ohioans found other things to do besides exercise their right to vote.

Unofficial results indicate voter turnout was among the lowest on record for a midterm election. Results online at the secretary of state’s site showed ballots cast by about 3.1 million people, or some 40 percent of the roughly 7.75 million registered voters in Ohio. County elections boards reported about 161,000 outstanding absentee and provisional ballots.

Statistics kept by the state show turnout has ranged from about 48 percent to 62 percent for Ohio’s midterm elections since 1978, when that type of tabulation began. Turnout was about 49 percent for Ohio’s last midterm election, when Kasich won his first term.

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GOING GREEN

The Green Party’s candidate for Ohio governor gave the party something to cheer. Unofficial election results show the Greens met new standards to qualify as a minor political party in the swing state.

Ohio’s rules are under federal court challenge but under current law, a minor party would gain automatic ballot status for four years by winning 2 percent of the vote this year or 3 percent in future elections. That designation allows the party to bypass a time-consuming process of gathering signatures to qualify as a minor party.

Anita Rios scored 3.3 percent Tuesday.

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MIXED VIEWS ON ECONOMY

About half of Ohio voters think the economy is better off now than it was when Kasich took office, according to data from exit polling conducted for The Associated Press and television networks.

Meanwhile, the polling indicated three-fourths are worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year, with about 2 in 5 saying they’re very worried. Slightly over half of the voters believe the country is seriously off on the wrong track. President Barack Obama got a failing grade on job performance.

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THE STATEHOUSE

Democrats lost at least five of their Ohio House seats as Republicans deepened their majority and topped a record for elected seats held in the chamber. Unofficial results show the GOP won at least 65 seats in the 99-member House. The most House seats held by Republicans in the chamber’s current configuration was in 1969, when the party came into session with a 64-35 edge.

Republicans kept their grip on the state Senate, too.

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MONEY FOR SCHOOLS

School levies did relatively well Tuesday, with nearly two-thirds of funding issues passing across the state.

The Ohio School Boards Association says voters passed 105 of the 163 school issues. An official says it’s one of the highest recent passage rates, but noted that’s probably because most were renewals. Requests for new tax dollars didn’t fare as well.

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TRAFFIC CAMERAS

Voters in Cleveland and in one of its suburbs heavily backed measures that would effectively stop traffic camera enforcement in their cities. Most voters backed issues that would mean Cleveland and Maple Heights could only use traffic cameras if a police officer is present and writes the ticket.

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OHIO 2016

Exit polls found Ohio voters slightly favored the Republican nominee over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is considered the presumptive front-runner for the 2016 Democratic nomination if she decides to run. About 3 in 10 said it still depends.

There’s the possibility that an Ohioan could be on the GOP ticket. Sen. Rob Portman has said he will consider getting into the 2016 race, and Kasich also is considered a potential contender, especially coming off his landslide re-election in a state that history says Republicans must carry to win the White House. The party will hold its 2016 convention in Cleveland.

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Associated Press writers Ann Sanner, John Seewer, Kantele Franko and Jennifer Smola in Columbus and Mark Gillispie in Cleveland contributed to this report.

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Contact Dan Sewell at https://www.twitter.com/dansewell

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