COLUMBUS, Ohio — Nan Whaley defeated former Cincinnati mayor John Cranley in the Democratic gubernatorial primary, the Associated Press announced.
Cranley conceded around 9 p.m. Tuesday, saying he congratulated Whaley knowing "all of this is God's plan." With 93% of precincts reporting, Cranley won Hamilton County by less than 100 votes.
Whaley was elected as Dayton's mayor in 2013, running unopposed in 2017 — the first time in city history a mayoral race ran uncontested. Though well-known in Southwest Ohio, the University of Dayton alumna became known to a wider audience after a gunman killed nine and injured 27 others in Dayton's Historic Oregon District in 2019.
During her campaign, the Indiana native has focused on increasing job opportunities, combating corruption in the statehouse and education reform. Juxtaposed to Republican incumbent Mike DeWine, Whaley said she will be a "pro-choice Democratic governor."
"If the majority on the U.S. Supreme Court gets their way, the next Governor of Ohio may be the last line of defense protecting abortion rights in our state," Whaley said on her website. "As Governor, Nan will never (waver) on her commitment to choice."
We did it.— Nan Whaley (@nanwhaley) May 4, 2022
Tonight, @CherylforOhio and I have made history as the first women ever nominated by a major party for the office of governor in our state.
Thank you so much for making this possible, Ohio.
The only woman in the race for Ohio governor, Whaley picked Cheryl Stephens as her running mate. Whaley is the first woman to receive a major party's backing for governor.
Whaley will face DeWine in November. DeWine has held office since 2019, previously serving as Ohio's attorney general, a U.S. Senator and representing Ohio's 7th district in the U.S. House. After her win, Whaley called DeWine "out of touch" and "corrupt."
"Here’s my question to Ohioans: are you better off now than you were 46 years ago when Mike DeWine was first elected to office?" Whaley said. "If the answer is yes, I’m not your candidate."
She extended an olive branch to Republicans who voted for Joe Blystone and Jim Renacci.
"The fact of the matter is these guys are frustrated and angry that their communities aren't getting anything," Whaley said. "Our answers may be a little different but we are on the same page that we are not getting the help out of the Ohio statehouse that we should. I think that I hear that."
Whaley said she will work as soon as possible in hopes of becoming the first woman elected mayor in Ohio.
To check out election results in Ohio and Indiana, click here.