Swing state no more? This battleground Senate race could be ‘final test of swing state status’

Despite its reputation as a bellwether in presidential elections, Ohio has increasingly trended Republican in recent years. However, Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown, who is up for re-election next cycle and considered one of the most vulnerable senators in 2024, is confident that Ohio is still a swing state. 

In a Sunday interview on CNN’s ‘State of the Union,’ Brown confidently shot down a question over whether Ohio is still a swing state, saying ‘of course it is, I’m not worried.’

Despite Brown’s assertions, Ohio has become increasingly unfriendly to Democratic candidates seeking statewide office. A Democrat has not won a non-judicial statewide election in the state since 2008, aside from Brown’s re-election victories in 2012 and 2018.   

Robert Alexander, political science professor and founding director of the Institute for Civics and Public Policy at Ohio Northern University, says that it is ‘difficult to see Ohio as a swing state given the results of the past few election cycles.’

‘Though Tim Ryan sought to run a Sherrod Brown-type of campaign, the Senate race was not particularly close,’ Alexander told Fox News Digital. ‘Our own polling in the state finds support for Donald Trump higher than that found nationally, and the same is true among Ohio voters on the controversial topic of abortion. In short, both election results and polling show that Ohio is to the right of the nation politically.’

In the midterm elections, GOP nominee JD Vance won his Senate race by a 7-point margin, and Republican Gov. Mike DeWine coasted to victory with a 25-point margin, despite an underwhelming performance from Republicans in battleground races elsewhere.

Sen. Brown, who recently announced he would seek a fourth term in 2024, was first elected in 2006 and is currently the only Democrat to hold statewide office in the Buckeye State.

Though Ohio continues to move rightward on the political spectrum, a Senate victory for Brown in 2024 is still ‘quite possible,’ according to Alexander, who predicts the Senate race could serve as a ‘final test of Ohio’s swing state status.’ 

Strong name recognition, incumbent advantage, and a populist message that resonates with Ohioans will play into Brown’s hand as he attempts to secure a fourth term, according to Alexander.

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