Ohio Post-Election Report

Government Relations

Governor’s Race Narrows – DeWine v. Whaley

Governor Mike DeWine has emerged as the winner in a four-way Republican primary for the governorship. DeWine was able to hold off challengers, former congressman Jim Renacci, farmer and businessman Joe Blystone, and former state representative Ron Hood. DeWine and his running mate Lt. Governor Jon Husted won with 48.13% of the vote to 28.02% for Renacci, 21.77% for Blystone, and 2.08% for Hood.

In the Democratic primary for governor, it was the battle of the former mayors as former Dayton mayor Nan Whaley bested former Cincinnati mayor John Cranley. Whaley garnered 64.99% of the vote to Cranley’s 35.01%.

The only other primary in the statewide races was the Republican primary for Secretary of State between incumbent Frank LaRose and former state representative John Adams. LaRose defeated Adams by a vote of 64.66% to 35.34% and will face Forest Park Council member Chelsea Clark in the fall. The remaining races were uncontested. 

This fall’s candidates will be:

Governor/Lt. Governor: Mike DeWine/Jon Husted* v. Nan Whaley/Cheryl Stephens
Attorney General: Dave Yost* v. Jeff Crossman
Auditor: Keith Faber* v. Taylor Sappington
Secretary of State: Frank LaRose* v. Chelsea Clark
Treasurer: Robert Sprague* v. Scott Schertzer
Supreme Court Chief Justice: Sharon Kennedy v. Jennifer Brunner
Supreme Court Justice: Patrick DeWine v. Marilyn Zayas
Supreme Court Justice: Patrick Fischer v. Terri Jamison


Of note, particularly given the controversies surrounding early voting in the last election, Secretary of State LaRose announced on Monday that 301,837 absentee ballots were requested by mail or in-person and that 263,542 votes were cast statewide. These numbers surpass the 300,765 absentee ballots requested and 260,443 total early votes cast through the end of the early voting period in 2018, the last statewide election year. Republicans outstripped Democrats in ballots requested, ballots cast early in person, and in total ballots returned and submitted for counting. In total, more than 1.6 million voters cast a ballot in this election for a turnout of just over 20%.

Republican J.D. Vance Will Face U.S. Representative Tim Ryan in the Fall for the U.S. Senate

Author, venture capitalist, and first-time candidate J.D. Vance has emerged victorious from a contentious seven-person Republican primary to face U.S. Representative Tim Ryan this fall to fill the seat of retiring U.S. Senator Rob Portman. In what has been described as the most expensive Senate race in history, Vance won 32.20% of the Republican vote with his closest competitors, former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and state senator Matt Dolan, taking 23.89% and 23.33% respectively. Democrat Ryan was also in a three-way primary, where he won 69.71% to attorney Morgan Harper’s 17.73% and businesswomen Traci Johnson’s 12.56%.

Incumbents Do Well in U.S. House Races

Despite the current districts being declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court, the U.S. House primaries went forward. Incumbents facing primaries included Steve Chabot (R-1st District), Brad Wenstrup (R-2nd District), Bill Johnson (R-6th District), Warren Davidson (R-8th District), Shontel Brown (D-11th District), Troy Balderson (R-12th District), and Dave Joyce (R-14th District). In total, 18 contested primaries were conducted in U.S. House races across the state. Current members Bob Gibbs (R) and Anthony Gonzalez (R) chose not to run for re-election.

The candidates in the fall will be:

District 1:        Steve Chabot* v. Greg Landsman

District 2:        Brad Wenstrup* v. Samantha Meadows

District 3:        Lee Stahley v. Joyce Beatty*

District 4:        Jim Jordan* v. Tamie Wilson

District 5:        Bob Latta* v. Craig Swartz

District 6:        Bill Johnson* v. Louis Lyras

District 7:        Max Miller v. Matthew Diemer

District 8:        Warren Davidson* v. Vanessa Enoch

District 9:        J.R. Majewski v. Marcy Kaptur*

District 10:      Mike Turner* v. David Esrati

District 11:      Eric Brewer v. Shontel Brown*

District 12:      Troy Balderson* v. Amy Ripple-Elton

District 13:      Madison Gesiotto Gilbert v. Emilia Sykes

District 14:      Dave Joyce* v. Matt Kilboy

District 15:      Mike Carey* v. Gary Josephson


Ohio House and Senate Races Still Unclear

Typically, the May primary would also see elections for all 99 Ohio House seats and half of the Ohio Senate seats. However, with the ongoing turmoil over the maps for the Statehouse districts, four sets of maps have been declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court (and the federal courts are also weighing in on next steps), it is unclear at this point when primaries will take place and what districts candidates will be running in. Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a member of the Ohio Redistricting Commission tasked with creating the maps, has said the primary will likely take place in August of this year, pending action by the legislature.

Cuyahoga County To Have New County Executive in the Fall

Current County Executive Armond Budish’s decision not to run for a third term means the county will have new county executive next year, the third since the change to the new county government form. Chris Ronayne was able to defeat Tariq Shabazz by a vote of 65.81% to 34.19% in the Democratic primary. Ronayne will face Republican Lee Weingart, who was unopposed in his primary. 

* All vote totals are preliminary.

For additional information on this topic, please contact your regular Calfee attorney or the author(s) listed below: