DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Ohio primary election is here and gubernatorial candidates are making their last-minute pitches to voters.

Former Mayor of Dayton Nan Whaley is going up against former Mayor of Cincinnati John Cranley for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination.

“I think there’s a big opportunity to change Ohio for the better and really invest in our kids and our families,” Whaley said.

Whaley said she is ready to use her experience working for people in the Gem City to help her make big changes across the state of Ohio.

“It was bittersweet when I left mayor of Dayton, I loved being mayor. But I recognized if we really want all of our cities to really succeed, we’ve got to have a partner at the statehouse,” Whaley said.

Whaley touts the growth of the City of Dayton under her eight years as mayor and her efforts to revitalize downtown as reasons why she would be a good fit for governor. She also helped the community navigate devastating tornadoes and a mass shooting. Whaley is hoping to make history with her nomination.

“We’ve never had a Democratic nominee that has been a woman, we haven’t had a nominee from any party that has been a woman. And I think we need a different kind of leadership if we’re going to get the work done that needs to be done,” Whaley said.

Her opponent, however, is critical.

“The fact is that Cincinnati is growing faster than the state of Ohio. Dayton has continued to be in decline,” Cranley said.

Cranley was elected mayor of Cincinnati in 2013 and served for eight years. He is looking for an “Ohio comeback,” promising to create thousands of jobs across the state.

“I have a plan to upgrade education in the state, guarantee 30,000 jobs that pay $60,000 a year, to build the infrastructure we need, high speed Wi-Fi, better roads,” Cranley said.

Cranley said his record speaks for itself, highlighting the growth of the city under his leadership.

“I worked with the business community to revitalize the riverfront and Over the Rhine, and our city is booming as a result,” Cranley said.

While the candidates might have different ideas on how to make Ohio better, they both agree there needs to be someone new in charge.

“We’ve had the same group of guys at the statehouse, and they’ve lined their pockets and Ohio families have struggled and suffered. I think that’s why we need new leadership,” Whaley said.