Incumbent: Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland
Republican: Former Rep. John Kasich
2008 Presidential Result: Obama 52%; McCain 47%
55+ Population (2009 estimate): 25.9%
Overview: This one's a barn burner, with two energetic, appealing candidates who are both popular in Ohio. Ted Strickland has managed to weather the bad economy, but polls show him trailing John Kasich, who has had to fight off reports that in the years he was out of politics he made big bucks at Lehman Brothers and arranged meetings between Lehman and state pension-fund advisers. Lehman was one of the companies that triggered the Wall Street collapse and eventually went bankrupt.
50+ Facts: Check the latest economic statistics and details on the state budget deficit.
Fun Fact: Strickland appeared in a "We are the World"-type video imploring basketball star LeBron James to stay in Cleveland. Before Lebron abandoned Cleveland for Miami, Kasich was quoted as saying that the "last guy" he worried about was James, in a state that has lost 400,000 jobs. Advantage Kasich.
'Wild Card' Issue: The NRA endorsed Strickland, an unusual backing of a Democrat for the group. When he was in Congress, Strickland voted against the 1994 assault weapons ban, solidifying his NRA support. Kasich voted for the weapons ban and got an "F" from the NRA.
Introduction: Governors' Races Hold High Stakes for the Future