Republican incumbent Mike DeWine defeated Democratic challenger David Pepper for a second term as Ohio attorney general on Tuesday.
“Tonight, I am grateful to have the support of my fellow Ohioans for a second term,” DeWine said in a statement. “When I became Attorney General, I took an oath to seek truth and to seek justice and to protect Ohio families. I have worked every day to uphold that oath.”
The Associated Press called the race at 7:52 p.m., about 20 minutes after polls closed. DeWine led with 61.68 percent of the vote at 11:20 p.m., according to vote.ohio.gov.
DeWine, who has served as attorney general since 2010, has made protecting Ohio families a top priority, supporting anti-gun violence programs and community repair groups statewide.
“Ohioans have given me four more years to continue our mission in the Attorney General’s Office, four more years to be bold and rethink how we run state government,” DeWine said in his statement. “And four more years to fight, every single day, to protect our kids and our families and to build a future that is better than today and an Ohio that is safer and stronger! I look forward to continuing our work to protect Ohio's families."
DeWine created Crimes Against Children Unit to help arrest sexual predators and has decreased turn-around times for DNA analysis at the Attorney General’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation, having thousands of rape kits tested.
DeWine also created a heroin unit within his office to battle the heroin and prescription drug abuse problems in the state.
Pepper has also worked to fight the drug problems in Ohio, creating a five-step plan called The Pepper Plan: comprehensive approach to take on heroin addiction that includes treating the heroin epidemic as a public health crisis, drying up demand, saving lives and cracking down on supply and dealing.
However Pepper, who served as Hamilton County Commission president, has supported prominent issues, such as gay marriage, while DeWine has opposed them.
DeWine has supported the state’s ban of gay marriage, which was struck down and is now before the Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. DeWine said he is obligated to, according to the New York Times. Pepper, on the other hand, has said that attorney general should not argue on an unconstitutional law’s behalf.
“This was a hard fought campaign, and I congratulate Mike DeWine on his victory,” Pepper said in his concession statement. “Campaigns are about far more than any one candidate, so I want to thank our supporters and the hard-working volunteers who helped us along the way. I’m proud that we’ve been able to lead a substantive statewide conversation on how to best keep Ohioans safe, beat back Ohio’s growing heroin epidemic, and clean up government so it works for all Ohioans.”
Pepper was supported by more than 5,500 individual donors, according to his statement. He was endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police and Troopers for a Safer Ohio and pushed to improve relations between police agencies and communities, serving as the chairman of Law and Public Safety Committee.
He also worked on economic reforms, rebuilding Hamilton County’s reserve fund and eliminating wasteful spending.
Contact Alicia Balog at email@example.com.
Mackenzie Wallace contributed to reporting.