COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Republican incumbents Mike DeWine and Jon Husted are projected to serve a second term as governor and lieutenant governor of Ohio, defending the state’s two highest elected offices from Democratic challengers Nan Whaley and Cheryl Stephens.

The Associated Press projected DeWine as the gubernatorial race winner Tuesday night.

With DeWine and Husted having secured another four years — and every other state-level race likely to break for GOP candidates — the state’s executive branch is poised to be dominated by the Republican party for the foreseeable future. 

DeWine took the stage at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus just after 9 p.m. and minutes after the Associated Press announced its projection in the race. The Ohio GOP held its watch party for a number of candidates, including in the U.S. Senate and governor’s races, at the Renaissance.

“Ohioans have been through a lot,” DeWine told the crowded watch party. “But we are resilient, tough people, and we move forward.”

Much of his acceptance speech was centered on the people of the Buckeye state. But DeWine also highlighted the time he said was spent pushing to bring jobs to Ohio in Husted and his first four years. Before introducing DeWine, Husted told the crowd, “You win your first time on hope. You win your second term when you deliver on that hope.”

Watch Mike DeWine address his supporters after winning his second term as governor, according to unofficial election results.

Whaley conceded around 9:45 p.m., telling supporters from the Montgomery County Democratic Party Headquarters that she called DeWine to congratulate him just before she took the stage.

“There is a lot that’s pretty broken about Ohio and our whole country, and there’s a lot that’s not,” Whaley said. “Tonight, we can mourn this loss. But tomorrow, we get back to work.”

DeWine first assumed the governor’s office in 2019, but the 75-year-old has served in a number of elected roles since 1976. His resume includes stints as state attorney general and lieutenant governor, in the U.S. Senate and House, and in the Ohio General Assembly.

He was born and raised in southwestern Ohio, and is an Ohio Northern University Pettit College of Law and Miami University alumnus. 

Husted, his running mate, is the former secretary of state and also previously served in both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly. 

Much of DeWine’s first term was dominated by the coronavirus pandemic. During those four years, DeWine also signed notable anti-abortion and gun rights bills into law. 

On the campaign trail in 2022, he touted Ohio luring Intel to build its $20 billion semiconductor plant in New Albany and highlighted priorities such as tax cuts and investment in jobs and law enforcement.

As the first woman in state history to make it onto the general election ballot as a major party gubernatorial candidate, Whaley sought to become Ohio’s first female governor. “I sure as hell know I won’t be the last, no matter how hard the good old boys in both parties and the media try to hold us all back,” Whaley said Tuesday night.

The 46-year-old was mayor of Dayton from 2013 through 2021 and through a number of crises, including a series of destructive tornadoes and a mass shooting.

The bulk of independent polls conducted through early November showed DeWine defeating Whaley by double-digit margins.