George Voinovich was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1967. He served as Cuyahoga County auditor, 1971-76, and Cuyahoga County commissioner, 1976-78. Voinovich was elected lieutenant governor in 1978 and resigned in 1979 to run for mayor of Cleveland. He won and was re-elected to two consecutive terms. Voinovich lost a bid to unseat Democratic U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum in 1988.
He was elected governor in 1990 with 56 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Anthony Celebrezze. He won a second term in 1994 in a 72 percent win over Democrat Robert Burch Jr. Voinovich was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1998, defeating Democrat Mary Boyle with 56 percent of the vote. He earned 77 percent of the vote to win Ohio's March 2, 2004, primary election.