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Election Preview: Voters Head to the Polls on Tuesday, March 19

Ohio Primary Election Preview

On March 19, Ohioans will once again go to the polls to vote on a large amount of local, statewide and national issues. While president Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump have already secured their respective parties’ Presidential nominations, plenty of decisions await Ohioans this coming Tuesday. There will be 52 voting primaries (32 GOP, 20 Democrat) on Tuesday between candidates of the Ohio House and Ohio Senate alone. The following is a brief preview of some important races to watch:

US Senate Republican Primary

Recent polls in this race have painted a picture of a very close contest between businessman Bernie Moreno, Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose for the Republican nomination to the US Senate. The winner of this primary will face Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown in November.

Moreno holds the Trump endorsement in this contest but polls within the last week have shown Moreno and Dolan to be in a statistical dead heat with LaRose finishing third (but within striking distance). Moreno and LaRose have focused their efforts on courting Ohio Trump voters while Dolan has received the backing of “traditional” established Republican voters.

Ohio Supreme Court

Democrats seeking to fill an open seat on the Court will have a primary on Tuesday between Appeals Court Judges Lisa Forbes and Terri Jamison. The winner of this primary will face Republican Dan Hawkins in November.

US House of Representatives

CD 2 — This seat is currently held by retiring Republican Brad Wenstrup and is a heavily Republican district.  Among the notable names in this 11-person primary are current Republican Ohio Senators Shane Wilkin and Niraj Antani and businessman Larry Kidd.

CD 6 — This seat was recently vacated by Bill Johnson, the Republican who left to assume the Presidency at Youngstown State University.  The two leading contenders in this race are current Ohio Senate member Michael Rulli and current Ohio House member Reggie Stoltzfus.  Voters in this district will actually vote twice on Tuesday; first to choose the Republican candidate for the June 11 special election to fill the remainder of Johnson’s unexpired term and the other for the nominee to run in the November general election for the full term that would begin in January of 2025.

CD 9 — This seat is held by long-term Democratic incumbent Marcy Kaptur, who is running in November.  Noted Republican challengers are current Ohio House member Derrick Merrin and former Ohio House member Craig Riedel.  Much of the press in the Republican primary here recently has surrounded former candidate JR Majewski, who recently withdrew from this race after making several questionable remarks.  However, despite him leaving this race, Majewski’s name will appear on the ballot for voters in this district on election Day.

Ohio Senate

SD 4 — Republican incumbent George Lang is facing a primary challenge from former Republican Ohio House member Candice Keller.

SD 10 — This Republican district seat is currently held by Bob Hackett, who is term-limited. Two main Republican challengers are facing off in this primary, as former Ohio House member Kyle Koehler is taking on local office holder Carolyn Destefani.

SD 32 — This seat is currently held by Republican incumbent Sandra O’Brien. She is facing a primary challenge from current Ohio House member Mike Loychik. 

Ohio House

The most attention being paid to primaries overall on Capitol Square involve the internal fighting of the Republican Caucus of the Ohio House. The numerous primaries seem to be reflective of a battle for the Speaker’s gavel next session between current House Speaker Jason Stephens and current Senate President Matt Huffman.  Huffman is term limited in the Senate in 2024 and while as a candidate in the 78th House district, has made it widely known he would like to be Speaker at the start of 2025. The following are some of the primaries to watch on Tuesday.  * notes Republican incumbent (who voted for or supported Stephens):

75th District — Incumbent Haraz Ghanbari (*) vs Sally Culling

83rd District — Incumbent Jon Cross (*) vs Ty Matthews

69th District — Incumbent Kevin Miller (*) vs Daniel Kalmbach

62nd District — Incumbent Jean Schmidt (*) vs Dillon Blevins

47th District — Incumbent Sara Carruthers (*) vs Diane Mullins

72nd District — Incumbent Gail Pavliga (*) vs Heidi Workman

51st District — Incumbent Brett Hillyer (*) vs Jodi Salvo

66th District — Incumbent Sharon Ray (*) vs Gary Fox

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