COLUMBUS, Ohio - All eyes are on Ohio as polls open here in the battleground state.
Election sites opened their doors at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday after more than a month of early voting. Polls stay open until 7:30 p.m., bringing an end to the intense presidential campaign for Ohio's 18 electoral votes.
Ohio's critical role in deciding the race between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney has been underscored by dozens of visits from the candidates and their surrogates, and a constant barrage of TV ads in recent weeks. The race in Ohio is seen as too close to call.
Ohio also had one of most hotly contested and expensive U.S. Senate campaigns, with Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel trying to unseat first-term Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown.
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A popular president can help his party's candidates for Congress and governor candidates in mid-term elections. But Democrats increasingly worry they could suffer losses, much as they did in 2010, Obama's first mid-term elections.
Republicans and Democrats in Ohio's capital city are launching a joint effort to explore landing a national political convention for Columbus in 2016.