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Does Ohio Still Matter In The Race For The Presidency?

ohio democratic debate
David J. Phillip
Democratic presidential candidates stand on the primary debate stage at Texas Southern University on Sept. 12, 2019. Next month, a dozen of those candidates are expected to debate at Ohio's Otterbein University in Westerville.

Fifteen years ago, as the 2004 U.S. Presidential election was nearing its denouement, popular NBC News analyst and Meet the Press host Tim Russert famously adjusted his mantra about which state mattered most for each candidate's path to victory.

Russert had been correct in 2000 when he said, "Florida, Florida, Florida" as the Sunshine State captivated a nation for weeks amid the Bush v. Gore battle that would ultimately settle that year's race. By 2004, Russert's message changed to "Ohio, Ohio, Ohio." Ultimately, the Buckeye State went to the reelection column of President George W. Bush. Ohio has quite a winning streak going on when it comes to picking the President. The state’s voters have gone with the winner in every election since 1964, back and forth with the political winds that tilt sometimes to the right and sometimes to the left.

It has for the past 50-plus years been the epitome of a bellwether. But in 2016, President Trump carried Ohio and its 18 electoral votes by more than 8 percentage points over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. It was the largest margin of victory by a presidential candidate in Ohio since President George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988, carrying the state by nearly 11 points over his Democratic challenger Michael Dukakis. So, what does Trump's margin of victory in 2016 tell us about where Ohio stands as we head into 2020? Is the state still up for grabs?

Joining Cincinnati Edition for a full hour of analysis are Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper, Ohio Republican Party Chairwoman Jane Timken, Pantsuit Politics co-host Sarah Stewart Holland, former Kentucky Secretary of State and attorney Trey Grayson, Miami University Assistant Professor of Political Science Rachel Blum, and University of Cincinnati Associate Professor of Political Science Andrew Lewis.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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Michael Monks brings a broad range of experience to WVXU-FM as the host of Cincinnati Edition, Cincinnati Public Radio's weekday news and information talk show.