As the results of tonight’s primary election trickle in, here are some of the races we’ll be keeping an eye out for that will have a large effect on Ohio’s future political landscape.
Current Split: 12 R – 4 D
Background: No seats have changed hands between the two parties since the current congressional district map was put in place in 2012. The last time Democrats held a majority of Ohio’s congressional seats was 2008 when they won 10 out of the then 18 districts.
Congressional races we’re watching: D 12, R 12, R 16
12th District Democratic Primary- Who Can Be Ohio’s Conor Lamb
A crowded field of 6 candidates seeks the Democratic nomination to run in the special election on August 7th to replace Pat Tiberi. The slate includes: Ed Albertson, Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor, Jackie Patton, John Peters, John Russell, former Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott, and Doug Wilson. Many consider O’Connor the favorite to prevail having received the endorsement of the Franklin County Democratic Party and several Democratic officeholders. However, Zach Scott and John Russell are also being viewed as competitive.
12th District Republican Primary- Establishment vs. Freedom Caucus
The Republican side of the 12th has an EVEN larger field of 9 candidates. This field includes: State Senator Kevin Bacon, State Senator Troy Balderson, Lawrence Cohen, Jon Halverstadt, Tim Kane, Liberty Township Trustee Melanie Leneghan, Pat Manley, Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien, and Mick Shoemaker Jr. The race has been dominated by Troy Balderson – Tiberi’s handpicked successor – and Melanie Leneghan who has received significant support from Jim Jordan and the House Freedom Caucus. The race will serve as a good barometer to which side has the more compelling message in a Republican primary. With such a large field, anything can happen.
16th District Republican Primary- MAGA vs. OSU
This northeast Ohio primary between current State Representative Christina Hagan and former OSU/NFL football player Anthony Gonzalez has been one of the most combative races in the state. No candidate has done more to tie herself to Trump and the MAGA brand than Hagan. This has garnered her the support of Fox News and Breitbart who have have given her ample airtime in the run up to the election. Gonzalez has been a prolific fundraiser and has the support of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Current Split: 24 R – 9 D
Background: Democrats last controlled the chamber in 1984, and haven’t been close to doing so since. The minority party has not held more than 13 seats since 1990.
Primary races we’re watching: D 11, R 19, D 21, D 23, D 25
Democratic District 11 (Toledo)
This race features Michael Ashford and Teresa Fedor, two term-limited lawmakers in the Ohio House who are aiming to succeed term-limited Edna Brown (D). If elected, this would be Fedor’s second stint in the Ohio Senate after previously serving there from 2003 until 2010.
Republican District 19 (Central Ohio)
The reaction of term-limited representative Andrew Brenner to his primary challenge for this open Senate seat by Orange Township Fiscal Officer Joel Spitzer suggests suggests the race might be close. Brenner spent more than twice what he raised in the last quarter as both sides engaged in a nasty fight featuring allegations of misbehavior and dirty campaigning. The winner is likely to face Democrat Louise Valentine who has more cash on hand than incumbent Brenner.
Democratic District 21 (Cleveland)
The 21st features a primary challenge for incumbent Senator Sandra Williams. In a recurring theme, term limited State Representative Bill Patmon is attempting to transition to the Senate. Joining him in the challenge is Jeff Johnson – a former Cleveland city councilman. Willie Britt is also seeking the office, but is not considered to be competitive. Williams received the endorsement of the Cuyahoga County party, while Patmon was endorsed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Democratic District 23 (Cleveland)
In the 23rd, Martin Sweeney gave up his seat in the Ohio House to take on Nickie Antonio for the seat of the term-limited Michael Skindell, freeing up his House seat for his daughter to seek. Antonio, who unlike Sweeney, is term-limited, is considered the underdog given that Sweeney has the money advantage and received the county party endorsement. Progressive groups including the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus as well as LGBT- and women’s rights organizations are aligned with Antonio.
Democratic District 25 (Cleveland)
The 25th District Democratic primary features the unusual challenge of the sitting Senate Minority Leader, Kenny Yuko, by a fellow Democrat, term-limited State Representative John Barnes. Adding to the intrigue, Leader Yuko failed to secure the endorsement of his county party – again highlighting schisms in the Cuyahoga County Party.
Current Split: 65 R – 33 D
Background: Outside of a brief period of Democratic control from 2008 to 2010, the lower-chamber has been held by Republicans since 1995.
Some of the most compelling primary races in the Ohio House revolve around the fight to be the next Speaker. The two frontrunners for the position, former Speaker Larry Householder and Ryan Smith, have recruited and supported opposing candidates in primaries in what has turned into a proxy war to secure votes for the speakership. Eleven primaries feature opposing candidates identified as being aligned with either Householder or Smith. If either side has a strong showing in these races it will likely go a long way in determining the next Speaker.
|16||Rep. David Greenspan||Smith|
|47||Rep. Derek Merrin||Householder|
|51||Rep. Wes Retherford||Smith|
|67||Sen. Kris Jordan||Householder|
|81||Rep. James Hoops||Smith|
|98||Brett Hudson Hillyer||Householder|