Election Roundup: With Primary Over, Fall Elections Set

03/20/24

The Ohio Republican Senate Primary was closely watched nationwide as the contest between Bernie Moreno, current Ohio State Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and current Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose played out. In the end, Bernie Moreno, who was endorsed by former President Donald Trump and current Ohio Senator JD Vance, won the opportunity to face off with Senator Sherrod Brown this fall. Moreno won with 50.5 percent of the vote compared to 32.86 percent for Dolan and 16.64 percent for LaRose.

Congressional Races:

In Congressional races, Ohio State Senator Mike Rulli (R-Salem) was selected to move forward as the Republican nominee in the Ohio Sixth Congressional District for both the upcoming special election and general election to replace former Congressman Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) who was resigned to become president of Youngstown State University. Rulli will be favored to win both the special and general election in this heavily Republican district.

Additionally, David Taylor (R-Amelia) got the nod to be the Republican nominee to replace Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-Cincinnati) in Ohio’s Second Congressional District. This was an 11-way primary that featured two state legislators also running, Sen. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) and Sen. Shane Wilkin (R-Hillsboro), and Taylor won with a plurality 25 percent of the vote. He is also favored to win in November with the heavy Republican tilt of the district. Taylor is an attorney and former assistant prosecutor who then went on to run the family business, Sardinia Ready Mix, Inc., a concrete business.

Another familiar name, current state Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova Twp.) won the Republican primary in Ohio’s Ninth Congressional District and will get to face off against Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) this fall. Merrin has been a helpful advocate on behalf of the banking industry over the years and this will be a highly competitive race come November.

In the Thirteenth Congressional District, former state legislator and businessman Kevin Coughlin (R-Cuyahoga Falls) advanced to face off against current Congresswoman Emelia Sykes (D-Akron) this fall in what could be yet another competitive race.

Statehouse Races:

There were quite a few competitive primary races throughout the state and full unofficial election results can be found HERE. More incumbents than usual faced strong primary challenges in the ongoing proxy battle being waged in the Ohio House for control of the Speaker’s gavel. As noted previously, current Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) has made it clear that he intends to seek the position of Speaker of the Ohio House next year when he returns to the Ohio House after leaving the Senate due to term limits. The complicating factor in that is that current Ohio House Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill) still has two terms left and is expected to seek to continue holding the Speaker’s gavel. This led to numerous primaries where candidates were on one side or the other of that brewing fight. Without going through all of the races and especially the open primaries, there are a few races of note.

Specially, four current Republican House incumbents lost their primaries to continue serving in those roles. Most notably for the industry, Rep. Brett Hillyer (R-Uhrichsville) lost his primary to Jodi Salvo (R-Bolivar). This is unfortunate because Hillyer has been a staunch supporter of the banking industry and is extremely knowledgeable on banking issues. He will serve out the remainder of this term but will not be on the ballot this fall.

Other incumbents bested in their primaries are current House Assistant Majority Floor Leader Jon Cross (R-Findlay), Rep. Sara Carruthers (R-Hamilton), and Rep. Gail Pavliga (R-Atwater). On the Democrat side, embattled Rep. Elliot Forhan (D-South Euclid) lost his primary after having conflicts with other members of the Democratic Caucus.

Numerous other incumbents faced primary challengers, including current Chair of the House Financial Institutions Committee Rep. Jeff LaRe (R-Canal Winchester), Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Loveland), Rep. DJ Swearingen (R-Huron), and Rep. Cindy Abrams (R-Harrison), but survived to compete in the General Election this fall.

On the Senate side, both Senator George Lang (R-West Chester Twp.) and Senator Sandra O’Brien (R-Rome) fended off challengers. Additionally, former State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) won his primary to seek to replace current State Senator Bob Hackett (R-London) who will be leaving due to term limits.