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Ohio Democrats win five of 15 Congressional seats, but have a tough night in Statehouse races

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Karen Kasler
/
Statehouse News Bureau

While there were lots of reports of long lines, turnout is expected to be around half of Ohio’s 8 million registered voters. And if the more than 180,000 provisional ballots are all counted, it's likely over 289,000 fewer voters cast ballots in 2022 than in the 2018 election.

Among those who voted Tuesday in central Ohio was Joanna Mahoney, who was frustrated with all the ads she was seeing.

“The person who supposedly has the most money or backing gets the most ads — I think it’s criminal," Mahoney said. "I don’t think it should be done that way. I think our government needs to limit what they can spend.”

Nathaniel Badertscher served in the US Army.

“Part of what we were doing was trying to maintain our countrymen’s ability to have a say in what goes on," Badertscher said. "And so that’s why I try to carry on now and go every year and make sure I have my say.”

Chante Meadows is a social worker, and said it was important to vote because "most issues are all related to what I do — they’re related to people. There’s a lot going on the world. So we all matter and we all have to have our voice heard.”

The election in which they all participated turned out to be one dominated by Republican wins, which has been the case in midterm elections in Ohio going back to 2010. The only Democrats who have won statewide since then have been US Sen. Sherrod Brown and Supreme Court Justices Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart, winning their six-year terms in 2018.

The lone bright spot for Ohio Democrats were in the Congressional races. The state’s delegation shrunk by one from 16 to 15, and Democrats will comprise a third of that, with Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman defeating incumbent Republican Steve Chabot. With former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes winning an open seat in northeast Ohio, four of the five Democrats are women, three of them Black women. 10 Republican men were elected to Congress from Ohio — nine incumbents along with Max Miller, who’d been an aide to former President Donald Trump.

Ohio's Congressional map was ruled unconstitutionally gerrymandered by the Ohio Supreme Court, but a federal court ordered it used for this election. The Republican-dominated Ohio Redistricting Commission will have to submit a map to the Supreme Court next year. It's unclear whether this map will be used again or redrawn with these Democratic wins and a Republican majority on the court that no longer will include Chief Justice Maureen O'Connor, a Republican but a key vote against the map.

The maps for Ohio House and Senate were also unconstitutionally gerrymandered and will have to be reconsidered by the Ohio Redistricting Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court as well.

Republicans grew their number in the House to 68, reducing the Democratic House caucus to 31. No Republican incumbents were defeated. But two Democrats lost: Assistant House Minority Leader Thomas West of Canton and Assistant Minority Whip Richard Brown of Canal Winchester.

Among the other Democrats to lose was Jim Obergefell, the lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case from Ohio that established marriage equality in the U.S.

Eight of Ohio’s 33 senators are Democrats, and that number is now smaller, with Tina Maharath, the first Asian American woman elected to the Ohio Senate, apparently losing to Republican Michelle Reynolds, who’ll be the first Black Republican woman state senator in Ohio.

With a 25-member caucus before Election Day, Republicans already controlled 75% of the seats in the Senate.

Longtime Democratic lawmaker Teresa Fedor won a seat on the Ohio State Board of Education. She'd left her seat in the Senate to run for that position. Five of the 11 elected board members were on the ballot, including board president Charlotte McGuire and member John Hagan, who both won. But member Jenny Kilgore was knocked off by Katie Hofman, and incumbent Tim Miller lost in a three-way race to Tom Jackson.

Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.