Richard Cordray (D)
Richard Cordray (D)
Mike DeWine (R)
Mike DeWine (R)

Created by the Campus Election Engagement Project, a nonpartisan effort to help college and university administrators, faculty, and student leaders engage their schools in the election. Key sites consulted included,,,, and public candidate statements. For guides to local races, see from the League of Women Voters and For more detailed information visit their pages.

Visit and to volunteer. Other candidates include: Constance Gadell-Newton (Green Party), Collin Hill (Independent), & Travis Irvine (Libertarian). Due to limited space, we can’t include candidates polling at less than 15%, but encourage you to check out their websites. To download a printable pdf version of this guide, click here.

Abortion: Mostly ban or mostly legal?

Cordray – Legal. Women should have the right to make their own personal decisions.

DeWine – Ban. Would have supported “heartbeat bill,” banning abortion at 6 weeks with no exceptions for rape or incest.


Campaign Finance: Limit political donations from corporations & unions?

Cordray – Yes. Supported McCain-Feingold bill. Also supports public financing of campaigns.

DeWine – No. Voted against McCain-Feingold.


Climate Change: Consider climate change a critical threat? Limit or tax production of greenhouse gases?

Cordray – Yes. Clean energy & energy efficiency are job engines, but also “keys to addressing climate change that threatens the Great Lakes & Ohio farmland.”

DeWine – No. Challenged Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan: “Will dramatically increase Ohioans’ electric rates while… offering less reliable service & few tangible environmental benefits.”


Contraception: Allow employers to withhold contraceptive coverage from employees if they disagree with it morally?

Cordray – No. Require employers to provide coverage of contraception in health insurance plans. Considers it key element of women’s health care.

DeWine – Yes. Considers this an issue of religious freedom for employers.


Drugs: Legalize or decriminalize marijuana? Support Ohio Ballot Issue 1, which reduces first & second arrests for simple drug possession to non-jail time misdemeanors? Related, how to best address opioid crisis?

Cordray – Would legalize . Supports Issue 1 (See Politifact check) as alternative to failed drug & incarceration policies.  “Can’t arrest way out of opioid crisis,” so fund treatment & prevention programs, train law enforcement, & boost state support for families.

DeWine – Opposes recreational marijuana legalization or decriminalization. Sued Toledo when the city passed municipal decriminalization. Also opposes Issue 1. To help address opioid crisis, expand substance-abuse & early intervention programs, and add drug courts.


Economy: Support expanded regulatory role for federal government?

Cordray – Yes. Ran Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which forced financial institutions to return $12 billion to consumers. Has challenged Ohio payday lending industry.

DeWine – No. Make Ohio a low tax, low regulation state that’s attractive to businesses.  Let governor suspend regulations that adversely affect job creation.


Education: Increase funding for K-12 & pre-K education?

Cordray – Yes. Advocates increased funding for universal pre-K ($140 million per year) & more equitable funding of primary & secondary schools.

DeWine – Unclear on general K-12. Supports increased pre-K funding, but when in Senate opposed Head Start funding.


Education: Increase state funding for higher education?

Cordray – Yes. Proposes free community college for all Ohioans. Expand Columbus State Preferred Pathways program that guarantees admission to partner 4-year colleges & enables students to easily transfer credits.

DeWine – Unclear. Wants improved college affordability, new funding to produce more computer science teachers, & tying part of state funding to “post-graduate job attainment.” Might consider free community college.


Education: Support privately operated but publicly funded charter schools & programs like vouchers which allow parents to help pay for private schools?

Cordray – No. The for-profit charter schools have been a scandal… We’ve got $70 million missing in Columbus that we’re never going to see again.”

DeWine –  Yes. Says charters can be cost efficient & higher performing. Also supports vouchers.


Gay Marriage: Support gay marriage?

Cordray – Yes. “Long-term supporter.

DeWine – No. Also opposed including sexual identity in anti-discrimination laws.


Gun Control: Support more restrictive gun control legislation? Restrict semi-automatic weapons?

Cordray – Previous history of opposing restriction.  Supports universal background checks & bump stock ban. Opposes assault weapons ban.

DeWine – More previous support for restrictions. Now supports “stand your ground” law, opposes banning bump stocks or assault weapons. Would let judges seize guns from people at risk.


Healthcare: Support or Repeal ACA, aka Obamacare? Accept ACA’s Medicaid expansion to subsidize low-income participants?

Cordray – Supports ACA. On Medicaid expansion, 700,000 Ohioans have access to health care “who will not have it if it goes away.”

DeWine – Repeal ACA, believes could still keep pre-existing condition coverage. “Medicaid expansion is financially unsustainable,” but would keep for now with added work requirements.


Healthcare: Let Planned Parenthood receive public funds for non-abortion health care?

Cordray – Yes. Will work to restore funding.

DeWine – No. Nothing requires Ohio to support abortion providers.


Immigration: Support DREAM Act (DACA), allowing “Dreamers” who grew up in US after arriving illegally as children, to achieve legal status?

Cordray – Yes. Embrace DACA recipients & create pathways to citizenship for all immigrants who love & respect our nation.”

DeWine – Co-sponsored 2005 DREAM Act, & let DACA recipients apply for driver’s licenses, but defended Trump’s executive orders on immigration.


Labor: Enact right-to-work law, eliminating the right of unions to mandate dues for workers they represent?

Cordray – No.

DeWine – “Should be decided by Ohio voters.”


Minimum Wage: Raise the minimum wage?

Cordray – Yes. Fight to raise Ohio minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. Will go to voters if needed.

DeWine – Undecided. Says he’s “‘open to taking a look at’ whether the question should go to voters.” As US Senator increased to $7.25 when coupled with increased cap on estate tax. As Attorney General opposed Ohio cities’ enacting minimum wage higher than the state’s.


Net Neutrality: Require internet providers to provide equal access to all users?

Cordray – Yes. Would require for any company contracting with OH.

DeWine – Probable no. As Attorney General declined to join lawsuit preserving it.


Renewable Energy: Government support for renewable energy?

Cordray – Yes. Increase requirement for utilities to generate electricity from renewable sources. Believes this can play key role in revitalizing economy.

DeWine – No stand found.


Taxes: Support President Trump’s tax cuts? Ohio tax policy?

Cordray – No. A “terrible deal” that helps the wealthy. No current plan to increase OH taxes, but shift some allocations.

DeWine – Supports Trump tax cuts. No tax increases for OH. Exempt capital gains taxes for investment in economically distressed communities.


Voting Rights: Support stricter voting rules such major voter purges, even if they prevent some people from voting?

Cordray – No. The right to vote is vital to our democracy.” Make it “more accessible to Ohioans,” don’t take it away.”

DeWine – Yes. Applauds US Supreme Court decision upholding Ohio’s strict method for purging voter rolls.