Strickland: Ohio's Next Governor

By: By: Scott Saxton and The Associated Press
By: By: Scott Saxton and The Associated Press

With his brother Roger and wife Frances by his side, Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland accepted the job as Ohio's next governor.
As many as 1500 people showed up to greet the governor-elect of Ohio.

"We're sitting on the threshold of a new day for Ohio and Ohioans have made the unmistakable choice for change," Strickland declared. "Now we must elect unity over division."

Late returns had Strickland winning over Republican candidate Ken Blackwell with 59% of the vote.

Strickland told the crowd it's important to know that Lieutenant Governor-Elect Lee Fisher comes from the Northwest part of the state. With Strickland hailing from Southern Ohio, he said the pair can cover the entire state. Strickland promised the crowd he can open up Southern Ohio for more business.

Strickland has also vowed to come up with a plan to change the whole school funding formula.

Strickland's win ends 16 years of Republican control of the office.

Republican candidate Ken Blackwell issued the following statement after conceding the race.

"Ted, you ran a good race and have won a tremendous opportunity to lead the people of this state to better days, a stronger economy and a higher quality of life. Congratulations and best wishes for a successful tenure as governor of the greatest state in America," Blackwell said.

The new governor will be influential in campaigning for the Democrats' candidate in the 2008 presidential race.

Ohio Democrats have gained steam as a state investment scandal and ethics questions unfolded under the G-O-P.

An Associated Press exit poll found Ohio voters dissatisfied with the state's economy and disgusted by political scandals propelled Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland into the governor's office.

Strickland won overwhelmingly among those with a dim view of Ohio's economy.

He ended the Republican Party's control over the governor's office by winning every swing group by a large margin, doing well with independents, moderates, middle-income groups and women.

The polls of 25-hundred voters were conducted for A-P and television networks by Edison Media Research and Mitofsky International. Results have a sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points, higher for subgroups.

Findings from an exit poll of voters in Ohio's general election:

WHY STRICKLAND WON: Democratic Congressman Ted Strickland broke the Republican control over the governor's office in Ohio by winning every key swing group by a large margin - independents, moderates, middle-income groups and women.

WHY BROWN WON: Congressman Sherrod Brown rode a wave of anti-war and anti-Bush sentiment to defeat two-term Sen. Mike DeWine. Brown did extremely well among those groups. He also did well among some voters who backed DeWine in the past, including rural residents.

ECONOMY: Strickland won three in four votes among those who said they had a negative view of the state's economy. Nearly all voters in the Senate race said the economy weighed heavily on their decision, with most going for Brown.

BUSH VOTERS: About a third of all of President's Bush voters in 2004 went with Strickland this time. In the Senate race, fewer Bush voters from 2004 went with DeWine.

BLACKWELL-CONSERVATIVES: Secretary of State Ken Blackwell lost some of his conservative base as Strickland did better than expected among Republicans and conservatives.

BUSH APPROVAL: More than half of all voters gave President Bush a failing grade for the way he is handling his job.

IRAQ WAR: A third of all voters said they favored withdrawing all U.S. troops from Iraq. About the same number said the U.S. should send more troops or maintain current levels.

COUNTING VOTES: A large majority of Ohioans were confident that their votes would be counted accurately despite problems at the polls in 2004.

WHO VOTED: About an even number of men and women went to the polls, and more than half said their families had an income of at least $50,000 last year. Baby boomers accounted for about a third of all voters.

WHEN THEY DECIDED: About half of the voters in the Senate race made up their minds a month before the election, with most backing Brown.

WHERE THEY LIVE: Suburban residents accounted for the majority of voters. Residents of small cities and rural places made up one in 10 voters.

PARTY AFFILIATION: Slightly more Democrats voted than Republicans.

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