Republicans Prevail in Ohio: Kasich for Governor, Portman for Senate

By Staff | November 3, 2010 | 7:01 AM EDT

Columbus, Ohio (AP) - Former Rep. John Kasich has defeated Gov. Ted Strickland in Ohio and seized GOP control of a state considered crucial to the 2012 presidential election.

The 58-year-old Kasich defeated Strickland with attacks over the loss of 400,000 jobs. The Democratic governor pointed to national economic factors and declining unemployment without success.

The new governor will help lead redistricting in the battleground state.

The fight hurt both Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, who led the administration's early job creation efforts. Fisher lost his bid for U.S. Senate Tuesday.

Kasich fought Strickland's attacks on his record as a managing director at Lehman Brothers, the failed investment bank. He promised to bring a more business-minded approach to the state's economy.

Portman takes Senate seat

In another race, a veteran of George W. Bush's White House has kept Ohio's open U.S. Senate seat in the hands of the GOP.

Republican Rob Portman coasted to an easy victory Tuesday over Ohio Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher in a race that Democrats gave up on months ago.

Portman brushed aside criticism over close ties to Bush that include stints as White House budget director and U.S. trade ambassador.

Democrats had been hoping the retirement of two-term Republican Sen. George Voinovich would give them a good chance at gaining a GOP seat.

But Fisher's campaign sputtered after the state's Democratic primary and couldn't match Portman's fundraising machine.