© 2022 WOSU Public Media
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

WOSU Liveblog: 2018 Ohio Primary Elections

John Minchillo
Associated Press

May 8 is Election Day in Ohio, and what an eventful day it promises to be! Once again, WOSU will stay up late live-blogging local, state and national results here, as well as updating our Twitter and Facebook.

Ohioans will vote today in statewide Republican and Democratic primaries for governor, treasurer, secretary of state, and auditor, all open races. There's also a scramble over major Congressional seats, including in Ohio's 12th District, where Pat Tiberi's resignation left an open race as well.

Republicans will also cast votes in the U.S. Senate primary to challenge Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown. And everyone will have the chance to decide if Issue 1, the state ballot issue to reform redistricting, passes or fails.

Make sure to refresh this page often, because it does not auto-update.

Major News:

  • Danny O'Connor won the Democratic nominations and Troy Balderson won the Republican nominations for Ohio's 12th District.
  • Jim Renacci wins the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate. 
  • Issue 1, the ballot proposal to reform Congressional redistricting, has passed.
  • Mike DeWine wins the Republican nomination for Ohio governor.
  • Richard Cordray wins the Democratic nomination for Ohio governor.

Key Links:


May 9 @ 12:10 AM

That's it for election night in Ohio. We're signing off for the evening, but you can catch up with more politics coverage on our website tomorrow (today?). And if you missed a beat, catch up with our comprehensive rundown of Ohio's races below.

May 8 @ 11:57 PM

Just before midnight, it's all over.

With slim margins of victory, Troy Balderson has been declared the winner of the two Republican primaries in Ohio's 12th District. He will face Democrat Danny O'Connor in two elections: one in August, to fill the rest of Pat Tiberi's unexpired term, and one in November, to take up the full term after.

In Ohio's 16th District, the other open Congressional race, Susan Moran Palmer claimed victory over five opponents to capture the Democratic nomination with under 35 percent of the vote. The health care professional will face Anthony Gonzalez in November.

May 8 @ 11:37 PM

Ohio's 12th and 16th Districts are keeping us up late tonight. For the special election primary, the Republican race in OH-12 has narrowed to 0.04 percent (under 700 votes) with all precincts reporting. Could there be recounts ahead of us? According to Ohio law, the Secretary of State will order a recount for margins of victory of less than 0.05 percent.

The general election primary is less narrow, with Balderson enjoying a margin of over 1.1 percent.

Meanwhile, the Democratic race in OH-16 seems to be slower in tallying votes. Susan Moran Palmer is leading Grant Goodrich by about 6 percent, with about 85.5 percent of precincts reporting.

May 8 @ 11:10 PM

With over 96 percent of precincts reporting, the 12th District GOP primary between Troy Balderson and Melanie Leneghan remains too close to call. Currently they're separated by less than 0.1 percent, and just a few hundred votes. 

Balderson was backed by Pat Tiberi, who stepped down early from that Congressional seat to take a position at the private Ohio Business Roundtable. Leneghan, on the other hand, was backed by Freedom Caucus founder Jim Jordan and was aligning herself more with President Trump.

May 8 @ 10:53 PM

I have to take a moment to acknowledge two fascinating races in the Ohio House.

State Rep. Rick Perales defeated Republican challenger Jocelyn Smith, who had publicly released sexually explicit text messages she received from Perales. She had threatened to disclose their conversations if he didn't resign; instead, Perales filed an extortion charge against her and won his primary.

And state Rep. Bernadine Kent defeated Ismail Mohamed, who hoped to become Ohio's first-ever Somali-American legislator. 

Overall, a good night for Ohio incumbents.

May 8 @ 10:41 PM

State Rep. Robert Sprague won the Republican nomination for Ohio Treasurer. The Findlay lawmaker prevailed over former Ashtabula County Auditor Sandra O'Brien, campaigning on continuing the fiscal transparency efforts of term-limited Treasurer Josh Mandel.

Sprague faces Democrat Rob Richardson Jr., the former University of Cincinnati board chair, in November's election.

May 8 @ 10:37 PM

Columbus has passed its own redistricting reform proposal, with an overwhelming 75 percent of the vote. The charter amendment includes increasing the number of Columbus City Council members from seven to nine, and also changes the way members are appointed. Find out more about the plan here.

May 8 @ 10:26 PM

Former Ohio State Buckeye and NFL player Anthony Gonzalez has emerged victorious in Ohio's 16th District, one of two open Congressional seats this year. Gonzalez was endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party and faced state Rep. Christina Hagan, who was backed by conservative U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan.

In Ohio's 15th District, Rick Neal has won the Democratic nomination for Congress over Rob Jarvis. Neal, a 51-year-old former international relief worker and political newcomer, will face incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Stivers in the fall. Neal was backed by Sen. Sherrod Brown, former Gov. Ted Strickland and U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, and supports issues like the Affordable Care Act and a $15 minimum wage.

May 8 @ 10:25 PM

Danny O'Connor has won the Democratic nomination for Ohio's 12th Congressional district. He will compete in both the August special election and the November general election.

May 8 @ 10:12 PM

Though most statewide races have been decided, we're still waiting on Ohio's 12th District to settle its FOUR different Congressional races.

With two primaries for each the Democrat and Republican sides, there was the possibility that we could see entirely different ballots for August's special election and November's general election. That doesn't seem to be happening.

About 66 percent of precincts are reporting, and Franklin County Recorder Danny O'Connor is far ahead of the Democratic field. In each primary, he's won about 40 percent of the vote, while former Sheriff Zach Scott trails at about 17 percent.

Things are a bit tighter on the Republican side. Troy Balderson, who's been endorsed by former Rep. Pat Tiberi, is slightly edging out Freedom Caucus-backed Melanie Leneghan in both primaries, by about 32-27.

Find out the full results here.

May 8 @ 9:56 PM

Another wave of U.S. House primaries have been decided. Among Democrats, Janet Garrett won her primary in Ohio's 4th District to challenge Republican incumbent Rep. Jim Jordan. In Ohio's 6th District, Shawna Roberts will run against Republican incumbent Rep. Bill Johnson. Vanessa Enoch will give Rep. Warren Davidson a challenge in Ohio's 8th District.

Theresa Gasper will represent Democrats against Rep. Mike Turner in Ohio's 10th District, and Ken Harbaugh will run against Rep. Bob Gibbs in Ohio's 7th District. John Michael Galbraith will run against Rep. Bob Latta in Ohio's 5th District.

May 8 @ 9:31 PM

Jim Renacci has won the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, beating Mike Gibbons by about 13 percent. He will face incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown in the fall election.

Renacci, a U.S. Congressman, had the backing of President Trump ahead of Tuesday's five-way contest. Gibbons, a Cleveland investment banker, posed the biggest challenge. He was also a Trump supporter and was already in the Senate race when Renacci entered.

Gibbons sued Renacci a few days ago for alleging false and defamatory statements, including saying that Gibbons was anti-Trump.

Credit Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU

May 8 @ 9:23 PM

We're also paying attention to a number of U.S. House primaries today. 

Jim Burgess has come out victorious over Abdulkadir Haji to represent the GOP in Ohio District 3 for a seat in the U.S. House. Burgess will run against incumbent Rep. Joyce Beatty.

Several incumbents in the U.S. House have overcome primary challenges. On the Republican side, Rep. Bill Johnson, Rep. Jim Jordan, Rep. Mike Turner, Rep. Bob Latta, and Rep. Bob Gibbs all won their races. Among Democrats, Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Rep. Tim Ryan emerged victorious.

May 8 @ 9:03 PM

Who's already celebrating tonight? Issue 1 supporters, for one. The Fair Districts Fair Elections coalition has been pushing long and hard for redistricting reform, after several failed attempts at getting ballot issues passed. This time, there was no real opposition to the plan.

The amendment aims to curb partisan gerrymandering, which Ohio desperately needs - it's one of the most gerrymandered in the country. Issue 1 limits how counties are split into multiple districts, and requires more input from the minority party in order to pass new maps.

Who isn't celebrating? Mary Taylor, who waged a war over TV airwaves against Mike DeWine in her play for the Republican nomination, but who currently sits at under 40 percent of the vote. DeWine has already been declared the winner there.

Meanwhile, Statehouse Bureau reporter Jo Ingles is waiting for Richard Cordray to declare victory. He's already been announced the winner of the Democratic governor primary.

May 8 @ 8:44 PM

Issue 1, the bipartisan amendment to reform how Ohio draws its Congressional maps, has passed. Here's what you need to know about the plan, which was endorsed by several citizen groups as well as Democratic and Republican politicians.

May 8 @ 8:33 PM

Well that was fast. Mike DeWine has been declared the Republican nominee for Ohio Governor. With about 2.3 percent of the precincts reporting, the Ohio Attorney General leads Mary Taylor by almost 30 percent.


May 8 @ 8:30 PM

Richard Cordray has been declared the Democratic nominee for Ohio Governor. With just over 2.4 percent of precincts reporting, the Associated Press has called the race for the former Consumer Financial Bureau director.

He's so far claiming about 63 percent of the vote, with Dennis Kucinich trailing far behind at 23 percent, and Joe Schiavoni rounding out third at 9 percent.


May 8 @ 8:05 PM

Here's an interesting note. Democrat Rachel Crooks, who during the 2016 presidential election accused Donald Trump of sexually harassing her more than a decade ago, won her uncontested primary today. Crooks is a 35-year-old university administrator, and will face Republican state Rep. Bill Reineke for Ohio's 88th House District (southeast of Toledo) during the general election.

Crooks says she was working as a Trump Tower receptionist in 2005 when Trump kissed her "directly on the mouth" against her will. Trump denied the accusations.

May 8 @ 7:59 PM

Issue 1, unsurprisingly, may be the most popular candidate of the night. Early votes show "yes" on the redistricting reform proposal is carrying over 78 percent. (Columbus' own redistricting proposal is similarly popular, with 77 percent of the early vote.)

May 8 @ 7:44 PM

Some early voting results are in, and they show Richard Cordray and Mike DeWine leading in the Ohio governor race. Among early voters, Cordray and his running mate Betty Sutton won 68.9 percent of the Democratic votes. DeWine and his running mate Jon Husted won 66.6 percent of the Republican vote.

In the U.S. Senate primary, Jim Renacci led the early vote with 43.6 percent.

And in other Congressional races, Republican Troy Balderson leads Melanie Leneghan 30-23 in the early vote for Ohio's 12th District. Meanwhile, Danny O'Connor is heading up the Democratic side with almost half of early votes.

As a reminder, these only show early and absentee voters, which are calculated first. But they may be a good indicator of which candidates have energy behind them.

May 8 @ 7:30 PM

Polls have closed! We'll be following several races across the night, and you can find links to those live-updating tallies above.

You can also follow WOSU and our Statehouse Bureau reporters on Twitter.

May 8 @ 7:10 PM

We'll answer our own rhetorical question from just below and probably say, "No, 2018 likely won't set any records for voter turnout." Statehouse Bureau chief Karen Kasler talked to Secretary of State Jon Husted, who said he's expecting moderate turnout.

"There were no significant spikes in any part of the state," he said. "It was a little bit better than 2014, but no reason to believe it would be as high as 2010."

That year featured a competitive Democratic primary for U.S. Senate but the candidates for governor ran opposed. 

May 8 @ 6:37 PM

With about an hour left before polls close in Ohio, a look at turnout from Statehouse Bureau reporter Andy Chow. It's been decades since Ohio has seem more than 25 percent turnout for a midterm election. Considering how fervent the gubernatorial contests have been, could 2018 be the record-setter?

May 8 @ 4:00 PM

Have you experienced any problems voting? As of this morning, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says that no major problems were reported, but we're keeping our eyes out. If you experience any extremely long lines, issues with IDs or other problems, shoot us an email: news@wosu.org

May 8 @ 3:08 PM

WOSU's Nick Evans visited the American Legion Hall in Westerville this morning, checking in with voters about the 12th Congressional District's crowded primary. Most of the people he ran into were Republicans, like Mark Eucker, who said he's "all for making America great again."

Eucker cast his vote for Tim Kane, but there are nine other candidates vying for the nomination - and that's just on the Republican side. The GOP has controlled the 12th District since 1983, and they hope to keep it that way.

Credit Nick Evans / WOSU
Mark Eucker works outside the American Legion in Westerville.

May 8 @ 12:28 PM

Issue 1 isn't the only redistricting ballot issue today. Voters in Columbus will decide the fate of a proposal to overhaul the structure of Columbus City Council. But that ballot issue, which was written by the council itself, has been criticized by activists for failing to improve neighborhood representation.

An alternative plan written by a grassroots group gathered over 42,000 signatures, but was rejected from the May ballot by City Council and the Ohio Supreme Court. So there's definitely interest in overhauling Columbus Council, but if this proposal passes, it won't be with the same widespread support that Issue 1 enjoys.

May 8 @ 11:39 AM

There's another open Congressional race that we can't ignore today. Ohio's 16th District, which was held by U.S. Senate candidate Jim Renacci, turned into a contentious primary among main Republican contenders Anthony Gonzalez (a former NFL player) and Christina Hagan (a state Representative). Though Hagan is the more established politician, Gonzalez won the endorsement of the Ohio Republican Party, while Hagan is being backed by Freedom Caucus founder Rep. Jim Jordan.

In addition to a third GOP candidate, there are six Democrats vying for the seat, but the Ohio Democratic Party hasn't picked their favorite.

May 8 @ 11:13 AM

Ohio has a few Congressional primaries around the state, mostly among Democratic challengers. There's the 1st District (to face Rep. Steve Chabot), 7th District (to face Rep. Bob Gibbs), 10th District (to face Rep. Mike Turner), 14th District (to face Rep. Dave Joyce), and 15th District (to face Rep. Steve Stivers). Some of those races may be key in November, to see just how far Democrats can ride their wave of interest.

But the weirdest of all of them is Ohio's 12th District, which is a completely open race since Pat Tiberi resigned early in December. Democrats have seven candidates to choose from, while Republicans have a whopping 10, and there's one Green Party contender, all for a seat that's remained in Republican control for over three decades.

Credit Gabe Rosenberg / WOSU
Ohio's 12th District stretches from Delaware County north to Mansfield, and east to Newark and Zanesville.

And as WOSU's Nick Evan reports, the ballot is even more confusing because residents have to vote twice: Once for the party's candidate to fill the rest of Tiberi's term (to be decided in a special election in August), and then once for the general election candidate to take over next January.

May 8 @ 10:29 AM

Early voting tallies are in! As of 2PM on Monday, when early voting closed, more than 260,000 people had cast absentee ballots by mail or in-person. That's ahead of the 2014 midterm election, which didn't really have many big races. According to the Ohio Secretary of State's office, Democratic ballots are leading with about 60 percent of the early vote.

These will be the first votes counted when polls close at 7:30PM, so watch out for that early spike in results.

May 8 @ 9:32 AM

Here come a lot of names. Ohio's governor primaries have a total of nine candidates - two on the Republican side, six Democrats and one Green party candidate.

And Republicans also have five candidates vying to challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown in the fall Senate race.

I won't even bother going into the 19 candidates for Ohio's 12th District.

May 8 @ 9:12 AM

Why is this election important? Karen Kasler from the Statehouse News Bureau reports that the Republican primary for governor has cost $10 million between Mike DeWine and Mary Taylor, while Democrats don't seem quite as contentious - even though there have been more Democratic ballots returned in early voting than Republican ballots.

Issue 1 is also a driving force behind bringing people to the polls. It's a bipartisan, constitutional amendment to change Congressional redistricting in Ohio, and likely cut down on partisan gerrymandering. It's won the support of citizen groups like the Fair Districts Fair Elections Coalition, Common Cause Ohio and the League of Women Voters. The Ohio ACLU isn't endorsing or not-endorsing the issue, but the momentum seems to be behind it.

May 8 @ 6:00 AM

This is going to be a busy day all over Ohio, setting up for an even busier year. Polls open at 6:30 a.m. this morning and will close at 7:30 p.m., so make sure you know your polling location.

You need to bring a valid ID, which can be a valid driver's license, state ID card, or recent utility bill, bank statement or government check - as long as it's in your name and shows your address. Student IDs don't count. You can still vote provisionally if you don't bring proper ID.

Now, this year we've got almost every statewide office turning over due to term limits. That means the governor's office, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor and even state Supreme Court seats are all up for grabs. There are also nearly 500 local levies and other considerations on the ballot.

Republicans will also try to counter the Democratic wave and capture Sen. Sherrod Brown's seat in Congress, while Democrats try to capture a Congressional seat that's been in Republican hands for over three decades. Oh, and that Congressional redistricting ballot issue? It could possibly reshape elections for decades to come.

Here's what you should read to catch up: