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    2018 Ohio primary election update and summary

    On Tuesday, May 8, 2018, Ohioans cast ballots in the 2018 primary election. For the first time since 2006, five statewide elected offices were up for election without an incumbent running in the 2018 general election. Below, we have compiled results of some races of particular note and will continue to closely watch these races and others as we move toward the general election in November. (A full list of results from the Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate races with primary contests is also included.)

    As results continue to come in, be advised that some of the information below may change. We will continue to update this publication as the boards of elections finalize results.

    U.S. Senate

    Congressman Jim Renacci (R-Wadsworth) successfully defeated Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senator. Congressman Renacci received about 47 percent of the vote, while Mr. Gibbons received almost 32 percent of the vote. Congressman Renacci will face Democratic incumbent Senator Sherrod Brown in the November general election. Congressman Renacci branded himself as the “Trump” candidate, while Mr. Gibbons described himself as a moderate conservative outsider. President Trump publicly endorsed Congressman Renacci before the primary election.



    U.S. House of Representatives



    Former Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi retired from Congress in January 2018, and 17 candidates filed to fill his seat in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District. With a crowded Republican field for the special primary and primary elections, State Senator Troy Balderson (R-Zanesville) led his opponent in both races with about 29 percent of the vote for the special primary election for the unexpired term and 29 percent of the vote for the primary election for the new term. Challenger Melanie Leneghan, a township trustee and a vocal supporter of President Trump, was closely behind Senator Balderson as of the publication of this memo. Ms. Leneghan had the support of U.S. Congressman and former Chairman of the Freedom Caucus Jim Jordan. She received 28 percent of the vote in the special primary election for the unexpired term and about 28 percent in the primary election for the new term.

    In the Democratic primaries, Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor Jr. emerged from a field of six candidates and will face the Republican nominee Senator Troy Balderson in both the special election on August 7, 2018, and the general election in November 2018. This election is expected to garner national attention as elections forecasters have been predicting a close contest for this normally-reliable Republican congressional district.

    Current State Representative Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) ran against former Ohio State University football player Anthony Gonzalez for Congressman Renacci’s seat. Mr. Gonzalez, who has never held elected office before, won the Republican nomination for the Ohio’s 16th Congressional District with about 53 percent of the vote.


    Ohio’s Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted defeated Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and Nathan Estruth for the Republican nomination for Governor, receiving about 60 percent of the vote. The Republican primary was particularly heated between Attorney General DeWine and Lt. Governor Taylor. Lt. Governor Taylor branded herself as the “Trump” candidate. Lt. Governor Taylor called Attorney General DeWine to concede the election around 9:00 p.m.

    Richard Cordray, former director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and a former Ohio Attorney General, prevailed in the Democratic Primary against former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, State Senator Joe Schiavoni (D-Boardman) and former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill, among other Democratic opponents. Mr. Cordray received about 62 percent of the vote, beating early poll numbers by more than 10 points. The 2018 general election’s race for governor is a rematch of the 2010 election for Ohio Attorney General, where DeWine won a very close race against Cordray.


    Two Republicans sought the nomination for state Treasurer. State Representative Robert Sprague (R-Findlay) defeated former treasurer for Ashtabula County Sandra O’Brien with about 60 percent of the vote. Ms. O’Brien had previously run for Ohio Treasurer of State in 2006 after winning a primary election over Republican State Treasurer Jennette Bradley. However, she was defeated in the 2006 general election by first-time successful statewide candidate Richard Cordray. Representative Sprague was the candidate officially endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party.

    The Democratic nominee Rob Richardson was unopposed. Mr. Richardson is lawyer from Cincinnati and previously ran unsuccessfully to become Cincinnati’s mayor.

    Attorney General

    Auditor Dave Yost ran unopposed for the Republican nomination for Attorney General. Likewise, former U.S. Attorney Steve Dettelbach was unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

    Secretary of State

    Both State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) and State Representative Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) were unopposed for the Republican and Democratic nomination for Secretary of State.


    Former Senate President and current State Representative Keith Faber (R-Celina) and former U.S. Congressman Zack Space (D-Dover) were both unopposed for their parties’ respective nominations.

    Ohio Supreme Court

    Neither of the two seats on the Ohio Supreme Court had contested primaries in the 2018 primary election. Republican Fifth District Court of Appeals Judge Craig Baldwin will face Democratic Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Michael Donnelly to replace Justice Terrence O’Donnell. Earlier this year, Governor John Kasich appointed Justice Mary DeGenaro, previously of the Seventh District Court of Appeals, to replace Justice Bill O’Neill, who ran for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, for the remainder of the unexpired term. Justice DeGenaro will run against Democratic Eighth District Court of Appeals Judge Melody Stewart for the new term.

    Ohio House

    There were 48 contested primaries for Ohio House of Representative seats. Notably, incumbent Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) was defeated by philanthropist Sara Carruthers. Former Representative Greg Jolivette, a former Hamilton mayor and Butler County commissioner, also ran in this primary for the Republican nomination against Representative Retherford. Incumbent Representative Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg) won his primary against two challengers for the 42nd House District, receiving about 63 percent of the vote.

    After an intense primary election season, the House must now turn its attention to replacing former Speaker of the Ohio House Cliff Rosenberger who resigned in April. The race for interim Speaker of the House for the remainder of the 132nd General Assembly is set for May 15, 2018.

    Democrats also had several primaries in Ohio House seats. Business specialist Terrence Upchurch won an eight-person primary for the 10th House District by 30 percent of the vote. Mr. Upchurch will likely be the next 10th House District Representative, as there is no Republican challenger in the general election. Senator Mike Skindell (D-Lakewood) successfully defeated Thomas Bullock in the primary for the 13th House District. Mr. Bullock was endorsed by the Cuyahoga Democratic Party and U.S. Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo).

    Ohio Senate

    Incumbents were generally successful in the primary election for Ohio Senate. Senator Robert McColley (R-Napoleon), who was appointed to represent the 1st Senate District, won the primary by more than 61 percent of the vote. Likewise, Senator Steve Wilson (R-Maineville), who was also appointed to the Senate, defeated his primary challenger by 57 percent of the vote. Representatives Andrew Brenner (R-Powell) and Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) won their nominations to seek open seats in the Senate.

    Senate Majority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) won his race against term-limited Representative John Barnes Jr. (D-Cleveland) for the 25th Senate District with about 59 percent of the vote. Senators Sandra Williams (D-Cleveland) and Cecil Thomas (D-Cincinnati) were also successful in their primary elections. Representatives Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood), Hearcel Craig (D-Columbus) and Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) won their primaries for open Senate seats. Representative Antonio defeated Representative Martin Sweeney (D-Cleveland) for the 23rd Senate District nomination, receiving about 54 percent of the vote.

    Issue 1 – Congressional Redistricting

    Issue 1 passed by over 74 percent of the vote. This bipartisan congressional redistricting proposal establishes a three-tiered process where the General Assembly will get the first attempt at drawing a ten-year map. Issue 1 is a General Assembly initiated constitutional amendment. The General Assembly created this bipartisan plan to change congressional redistricting in Ohio throughout the first several months of 2018. The new map is required to keep 65 counties whole within congressional districts and can only divide up to 18 counties once and up to five counties twice. The proposed map must be approved by a supermajority of both chambers, including 50 percent of the minority party.

    If the General Assembly fails to pass a congressional map with bipartisan support, the Ohio Redistricting Commission is able to draw a second draft of a map. The Ohio Redistricting Commission is composed of seven members. If the map cannot get two minority party members’ approval, the General Assembly receives the opportunity to draw another draft map. If the Ohio General Assembly fails to get one-third of the minority party to approve the map, it is only good for four years, instead of 10, and must adhere to stricter rules for splitting counties.

    Ohio House of Representatives Candidates
    *Primary election winners in bold.

    District Number







    Michael Canty
    Jim Trakas

    Phil Robinson


    Kent Smith


    Kent Smith
    Cassandra McDonald




    Nelson Cintron Jr.
    TJ Dow
    Kyle Earley
    Ronnie Jones
    Aanand Mehta
    Billy Sharp
    Danielle Shepherd
    Terrence Upchurch




    Juanita Brent
    Patrice Brown
    Earl Campbell Sr.
    Yvonka Hall
    Dimitri McDaniel
    Isaac Powell



    Jay Carson

    Tom Bullock
    Michael Skindell




    Carl J. Burgio

    Steve Holecko

    Rick Raley

    Bride Rose Sweeney


    Dave Greenspan

    Dave Greenspan
    Monique Jonevieve Boyd

    Cassimir Svigelj



    Tim Barhorst
    Chris Curry
    Dave Ferguson

    Noni Banks
    Mary Lightbody



    Stu Harris
    Doug Smith

    Beth Liston
    Mindy Yocum



    Erik Yassenoff

    Andrea Bonny
    Mary Relotto
    Allison Russo


    Bernadine Kennedy Kent

    Debbie Staggs

    Bernadine Kennedy Kent
    Ismail Mohamed
    Lamar Peoples II



    Shareeque Arife Sadiq

    Michael Cole
    Erica Crawley



    Jonathan Dever

    Jessica Miranda
    Paul Sohi




    Sedrick Denson
    Kathy Goodwin-Williams


    Anthony DeVitis

    Anthony DeVitis

    Timothy Piatt
    J. Noah Spinner



    Mike Rasor
    Craig Shubert
    Dexter Vaughan

    Casey Weinstein


    Fred Strahorn


    Fred Strahorn
    Walter James Hickman, Jr.



    Phil Plummer

    Albert Griggs
    Ryan Taylor


    Niraj Antani

    Niraj Antani
    Sarah Clark
    Marcus Rech

    Zach Dickerson
    Autumn Kern



    Kenneth Henning
    Jeffrey Todd Smith

    Dan Foley



    Kenneth Cousino

    Paula Hicks-Hudson
    Robert James Worthington


    Derek Merrin

    Derrek Merrin
    Barbara Lang

    Gary Newnham



    Josh Hagan
    Reggie Stoltzfus

    Cassie Gabelt


    Wes Retherford

    Wes Retherford
    Sara Carruthers
    Greg Jolivette

    Susan Vaughn



    Rob Weber

    Mark Ballard II
    Joe Miller
    Claudia Olaes
    Cory Shawver



    Don Manning

    Larry Moliterno
    Eric Ungaro



    John Plecnik
    Jamie Callender

    Rick Walker


    Scott Lipps

    Scott Lipps
    Daniel Kroger

    Jim Staton


    Michael O’Brien

    Randy Law
    Martha Yoder

    Michael O’Brien


    John Becker

    John Becker
    Erin Neace

    Patricia Lawrence


    Doug Green

    Doug Green

    Brian Flick
    Jeff Richards



    Kris Jordan
    Denise Martin
    Brian Lorenz

    Cory Hoffman


    Larry Householder

    Larry Householder
    Kevin Black

    Tyler Shipley


    Rick Perales

    Rick Perales
    Jocelyn Smith

    Kim McCarthy


    Jim Lutz

    Jim Lutz

    Denise Baba
    Randi Clites
    Alice Freitas


    Ron Hood

    Ron Hood
    Austin Reid
    Andrew Smigelski

    Amber Daniels



    John O’Brien
    J.D. Winteregg
    Jena Powell
    George Lovett



    Jim Hoops

    Jim Hoops
    Thomas Liebrecht

    Janet Breneman



    Jon Cross
    Cheryl Buckland




    Travis Faber
    Aaron Heilers
    Susan Manchester

    Joe Monbeck


    Nino Vitale

    Nino Vitale
    Rochiel Foulk
    Justin Griffis
    Joseph Ratermann

    Garrett Baldwin



    Tracy Richardson
    Robert Matthew Sammons

    Glenn Coble


    Riordan McClain

    Riordan McClain1
    Steve Reinhard
    Doug Weisenauer

    Mary Pierce-Broadwater



    Brian Baldridge
    Gina Collinsworth
    Justin Pizzulli
    Scottie Powell

    Adrienne Buckler
    Joni Fearing



    Beth Ellis
    Shane Wilkin

    Justin Grimes


    Jack Cera

    Bob Mazeroski
    Fiona Ruminski

    Jack Cera


    Brian Hill

    Brian Hill

    Kristine Geis
    Jennifer Riesbeck Mahoney



    Mark Behrendt
    Shane Gunnoe
    Larry Hawthorne
    Brett Hudson Hillyer
    Greg Ress

    Jeremiah Johnson


    Ohio Senate Candidates
    *Primary election winners in bold

    District Number






    Robert McColley

    Robert McColley
    Bob Barker Jr.
    Craig Kupferberg

    Adam Papin



    Anne Gonzales

    Tina Maharath
    Katherine Chipps


    Steve Wilson

    Steve Wilson
    Brad Lamoreaux

    Sara Bitter


    Cecil Thomas


    Cecil Thomas
    Dale Mallory



    Ernest McCarthy

    Michael Ashford
    Teresa Fedor



    Nathan Manning
    Ryan Sawyer

    Sharon Sweda



    Jordan Garcea

    Hearcel Craig
    Jodi Howell



    Andrew Brenner
    Joel Spitzer

    Louise Valentine


    Sandra Williams


    Sandra Williams
    Willie Lewis Britt
    Jeff Johnson
    Bill Patmon




    Nickie Antonio
    Mark Clark
    Martin Sweeney


    Kenny Yuko

    Bob Murphy

    John E. Barnes Jr.
    Kenny Yuko
    Renee Lindsley


    1 Currently, the Ohio Secretary of State’s unofficial results show McClain with 4,333 votes and Steve Reinhard with 4,273 votes. Some media outlets have called the race for McClain as overseas absentee ballots and provisional ballots have yet to be counted.

    This is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice and does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship.

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