Outside of one 11-day stint, Ohio has never had a woman governor

There's no doubt that 2018 is the #MeToo year, with women in Ohio and across the country stepping up to identify sexual abuse and doing all they can to stop it.

The political question is whether 2018 also will be the #OhioToo year. For a while, it looked like Ohio might join states that have elected a woman governor. It's still possible, but the odds are longer than they were earlier.

Since Ohio became a state in 1803, there has been only one female governor, Republican Nancy Hollister. The other 62 governors have been white males.

Hollister wasn't elected to the job. She had been George Voinovich's lieutenant governor and became governor on Dec. 31, 1998, when Voinovich left office to begin his first U.S. Senate term. Hollister's “reign” lasted 11 days until fellow Republican Bob Taft took office.

Women have fared better across the country, in Democratic and Republican states.

Currently, there are six women governors — three Republicans and three Democrats. Historically, there have been 39 women governors, 22 Democrats and 17 Republicans, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University.

The Ohio governor's race once was crowded with well-regarded female candidates.

For Republicans, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor still is seeking the nomination, with Cincinnati-area business executive Nathan Estruth as her lieutenant governor. However, Taylor and Estruth face a powerful duo: Attorney General Mike DeWine for governor with Secretary of State Jon Husted as his running mate.

Taylor shouldn't be underestimated. She was elected auditor in 2006, the only Republican elected to statewide executive office.

Democrats once had three strong female candidates, including former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton from the Akron area, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and former state Rep. Connie Pillich from the Cincinnati area, an Air Force veteran who was the losing candidate for state treasurer in 2014.

Richard Cordray, a Grove City native, entered the race and became the favorite. Cordray, former director of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Agency, has been elected statewide twice, as treasurer and attorney general.

He picked Sutton as his running mate and Whaley dropped out and endorsed Cordray.

Dennis Kucinich's entrance into the race could hurt Cordray. The former Cleveland mayor and congressman, who selected Akron City councilwoman Tara Samples as his running mate, has a loyal following and can do more with less money than anybody else.

Two other men still are running — State Sen. Joe Schiavoni, from the Youngstown area, and Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O'Neill, from Chagrin Falls.

That leaves Pillich, with Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer as her running mate, as the only female Democratic candidate. In a year when women candidates should feel empowered, that could help.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated William O'Neill was from the Youngstown area. Alive regrets the error.