The Government and Governance of Ohio: Party Politics and the Dismantling of Public Administration

Vera D. Vogelsang-Coombs, Cleveland State University
Lawrence F. Keller, Cleveland State University


Besides serving as a bellwether in national politics, Ohio illuminates governance issues when public administration functions in highly partisan states. Our analysis of democratic governance emphasizes the role of integrative institutions, those driven by normative public administration. We argue that Ohio has diminished governance capacity because the state lacks a system of integrative political institutions. Thus, the two major parties control all aspects of state government, including its public administration. A case study of Cuyahoga County reform illustrates the adverse effect on citizens when partisan dominance of Ohio’s political institutions overpowers the state’s capacity for integrative governance.