Columbus -- A panel of political insiders was asked a few days ago how President-elect Donald Trump's historic election would affect Ohio's governor's race and other statewide and legislative office campaigns two years from now.
It was an interesting question, given that few political insiders were on record, at least publicly, predicting that Trump would run away with the swing states he needed to win the election.
"I think that everything we predicted about Donald Trump was wrong," said Matt Carle, a Republican strategist who headed the PAC that supported Gov. John Kasich's presidential run. " All I know is that last January I said there is no way in hell Donald Trump would ever be the president of the United States, and look how that's worked out."
Which means one might want take predictions about 2018 with a grain of salt.
One thing that's certain: Some Republicans must concerned about a big, expensive three-way primary for the governor's office.
That, Carle said, "would probably be catastrophic for our party. Somebody's got to solve that."
He directed that statement toward Ohio Republican Party Chairman Matt Borges, who was sitting nearby and involved in the same panel discussion as part of Impact Ohio, a regular post-election gathering that provides analysis of results and speculation about future implications.
In the past, non-presidential, even-year elections have tended to favor whichever party is not in control of the White House.
But consider Trump -- "Trump did not really include the Republicans, and his messaging does not align with the overall Republican narrative," said Aaron Pickrell, senior adviser for Democrat Hillary Clinton's Ohio campaign. "He certainly doesn't like Gov. Kasich. So do people, foot forward, associate more with Donald Trump How does all that shake out?
Borges added, "Take the traditional, the conventional, wisdom after this campaign and throw it out the window."
On the Republican side of the aisle, at least three big names are already circulating as potential gubernatorial candidates. That list includes Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted.
And what about the Democrats in Ohio?
"I think the big question for the Democrats is who?" Borges said. "Who's left? Who can possibly get out there and put this kind of effort together and run .?"
Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said Democrats have a plan for 2018.
Trump's election may bode well for them.
"I think Donald Trump has shown us that the voters aren't actually excited about the people who have been in office for 30 or 40 years," he said, adding, "This is a change election. And I think the candidates that are going to run for governor on the Republican side are not going to be change whatsoever."
He added, "The most important thing that Democrats need to do is outline a better vision for Ohio to address the problems How do we go from lagging in the recovery versus most states to actually leading? How do we fix an education system that the wheels are falling off of? How do we really tackle some of these deeper issues that we're seeing?"
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.