2018 election

Jon Heavey
Jon Heavey / Twitter

The list of candidates that will appear on the May 8 primary ballot for governor is officially set. But that list does come with a surprise.

Elaine Thompson / Associated Press

Following the shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school, Ohio's candidates for governor are coming out to declare their stances on gun control and Second Amendment rights.

There are ten weeks till the May primary and while the Ohio Republican Party has already voted to endorse Jim Renacci as their U.S. Senate nominee, there are other candidates – including Melissa Ackison, who says she’s a political outsider. 

There’s a lot at stake in this year’s midterm elections in Ohio.

Republicans are trying to unseat Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. Democrats hope to break the GOP control over the governor’s office and other statewide positions. Nationally, majorities in Congress hang in the balance.

Helping us put the pieces together is Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

On competitive Congressional races in Ohio

Dake Kang / Associated Press

One of the Republican candidates for governor is pulling back an earlier statement in which she said she wouldn’t vote for her primary opponent if he becomes the party’s nominee. 

Connie Pillich (left) has ended her bid to become governor and endorsed and Richard Cordray.
Dan Konik / Ohio Public Radio

The only woman running for the Democratic nomination for governor has dropped out of the race. She’s throwing her support to a man she’d once criticized, but who many consider to be the frontrunner in the party’s primary.

The Ohio Republican Party has voted to endorse Attorney General Mike DeWine as their gubernatorial candidate. DeWine’s running against Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, who had very strong words for how the endorsement process went down. 

Democratic governor candidate Jon Heavey, from Cleveland, sits with his family.

Democrats are looking at a crowded primary field for Ohio governor, with nine candidates vying for a nomination. Among the surprise names that came up in the filings was Cleveland doctor Jon Heavey. 

When President Trump visited Ohio this week, he had a message for the GOP Senate candidate Rep. Jim Renacci.

"Jim, get in there and fight — we need you, we need you," Trump told the crowd.

A few weeks ago, White House staff personally intervened to persuade Renacci, who had been running for governor, to switch over to the Senate race to take on Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown. That is because GOP front-runner Josh Mandel dropped out last month, saying his wife is dealing with health problems. The move set off a scramble since the filing deadline was this past Wednesday.

Mary Taylor, from left, Bill ONeill and Dennis Kucinich Eleven candidates appeared in person or sent a representative to file paperwork in the Secretary of State office in Columbus to run for governor of Ohio.
Andy Chow / Ohio Public Radio

The slate is now set for voters to decide who they want as the next governor of Ohio. The filing deadline came down to the wire for some candidates. And it’s shaping up to be two tough primaries, and for the Democrats a crowded one, too.