Ohio House and Senate Primaries Set Stage for November Election

Government Relations

Ohio conducted its second primary of the year on August 2, 2022, to set the candidates for this fall’s elections for the Ohio Statehouse. Every seat in the Ohio House of Representatives and the 17 odd-numbered districts in the Ohio Senate are up for election this year.

The primary was delayed this year because of an ongoing dispute between the Ohio Redistricting Commission and the Supreme Court of Ohio regarding the constitutionality of legislative district lines drawn by the Commission. 

The current districts were originally declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court before being readopted by the Redistricting Commission as time ran out to adopt other maps in time for yesterday’s primaries. These districts are only valid for this election cycle – new maps will be required for the 2024 elections.

As expected, voter turnout was very low – approximately 7.93% of registered voters cast a ballot as of the time of this update.

Ohio House

All House seats are up this year as members serve two-year terms. There were 41 contested primaries held during yesterday’s election for the House of Representatives. Of those 41 contested primaries, there were 17 Democrat and 24 Republican contested primaries. 

Among the more interesting primary results:

  • Representative Dontavius Jarrells (D-Columbus) was able to hold off a challenge from Carolyn Harding.
  • The Democratic primary for the open 3rd House District seat covering northeast Columbus is too close to call.
  • Representative Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) will prevail over Representative Monique Smith (D-Fairview Park) for the 16th House District seat in the only race pitting two current incumbents against each other as a result of redistricting.
  • Representative Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) easily defeated Ryan McClain.
  • Representative Terrence Upchurch (D-Cleveland) was able to win his primary against Michael Seals.
  • Representative Juanita Brent (D-Cleveland) prevailed in a three-way primary against Danielle Dronet and Vincent Stokes.
  • Former Representative Dale Mallory was defeated by Dani Isaacsohn in the Democratic primary for the 24th House District seat in Cincinnati.
  • Republican and former Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Monzel prevailed in his primary and will face Representative Jessica Miranda (D-Forest Park) in the general election.
  • Representative Brian Baldridge (R-Winchester), one of the leading candidates to replace term-limited Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima), easily defeated Calvin Robinson.

In addition to Representative Smith, two additional incumbents, Representatives Sean Stevens (R-Sunbury) and Mark Frazier (R-Newark), lost to their challengers Beth Lear and Thad Claggett, respectively.

In the fall election, 29 candidates are already guaranteed a win as they will face no opposing candidate – 10 Democrats and 19 Republicans. 

Ohio Senate

Seventeen of the 33 Senate seats are up this year – members serve staggered four-year terms. There were not many contested primaries in the Senate races – only three Democrat and three Republican.

Of interest on the Republican side, incumbent Senator Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville), who was reputed to be facing a tight primary, easily held off challenger Kristen Hill. In the open 17th Senate District seat, currently held by term-limited Senator Bob Peterson (R-Sabina), current Representative Shane Wilkin (R-Lynchburg) defeated his opponent, Thomas Hwang. On the Democratic side, current Representative Kent Smith (D-Euclid) defeated former Representative John Barnes, Jr. to vie for the seat recently vacated by Senator Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland). That seat is currently held until the end of this session by Senator Dale Martin (D-Cleveland), who chose not to run in this election.

With the primaries over, three Republican incumbents – Rob McColley (R-Napoleon), Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City), and Kirk Schuring (R-Canton) – have a clear path in the general election as no Democrat has filed to run against them. Former Representative Al Landis also has a clear path to take the open 31st Senate District seat currently held by Senator Jay Hottinger (R-Newark) as no Democrat filed to run in that race either.

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