by Joey Derrico
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley announced on Monday, May 8, that she will run for the Democratic party nomination for governor in 2018.
Whaley, a forty-one-year-old Democrat from Indiana, has been connected to Ohio politics since she was an undergraduate. While at the University of Dayton for undergraduate studies, Whaley headed the UD College Democrats and eventually climbed the ladder to become state chair of the College Democrats of Ohio. Whaley then received a Master’s degree from Wright State University; she later went on to work as an assistant to the Montgomery County Auditor. Subsequently, during the 2004 election cycle, Whaley became the Montgomery County press secretary for John Kerry’s presidential campaign. At age 29, Whaley made history when she became the youngest female to ever be elected to the Dayton City Commission. She served two terms on the city commission before being elected mayor in 2013. Whaley also made history when it was announced she will run unopposed during November’s election, a feat never accomplished before.
As mayor of Dayton, Whaley has spearheaded multiple initiatives. Dayton has become more bike-friendly and the number of local manufacturers has increased. Downtown Dayton has seen a rise in residential and commercial development, drawing in revenue for the city. Whaley also swiftly declared a state of emergency in response to Ohio’s opiate crisis.
The field of contenders for governor in 2018 grows even larger with Whaley’s announcement. On the Republican side, Ohio Secretary of State John Husted, Lieutenant Governor Mary Taylor, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, and US Rep. Jim Renacci have all announced bids for the governor’s office. On the Democratic side, Whaley joins former US Rep. Betty Sutton, former State Rep. Connie Pillich, and State Senator Joe Schiavoni. Many experts believe Ohio is trending toward a Republican candidate. Current Governor John Kasich won his reelection bid in 2014 by thirty points and President Trump won Ohio by an eight-point margin.
The primaries for the governor’s race, where each major party pick their nominee, will take place on May 8, 2018 while the general election to decide the next Ohio governor will take place on November 6, 2018.