COLUMBUS, Ohio — Lt. Gov. Michael DeWine handily won the GOP nomination Tuesday for retiring three-term Sen. Howard Metzenbaum's seat, defeating former National Institutes of Health director Bernadine P. Healy.
On the Democratic side, Joel Hyatt, a millionaire lawyer who is Metzenbaum's son-in-law and handpicked choice for successor, held a lead over a woman commissioner who said the Senate needs "more moms."
The Ohio Senate race was being closely watched as one of a handful that could imperil the Democrats' majority in Washington this fall. Democrats hold a 56-44 edge in the Senate but are defending 22 of the 35 seats up for election.
Also in Ohio, state Sen. Rob Burch won the Democratic nomination to challenge popular first-term Republican Gov. George V. Voinovich.
With 79% of precincts reporting in the Ohio Senate race, Hyatt had 341,301 votes, or 47%, to Cuyahoga County Commissioner Mary Boyle's 314,654 votes, or 43%. Columbus businessman Ralph Applegate was trailing.
In the four-way race on the Republican side, DeWine had 351,705 votes, or 53%, to 211,229 votes, or 32%, for Healy. State Sen. Gene Watts and aviation consultant George Rhodes were splitting the balance of the vote.