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    2020 general election update

    UPDATE: On Wednesday, November 18, 2020, the Franklin County Board of Elections certified the election results from the General Election. The final results in the 16th Senate District showed incumbent Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) winning re-election by 116 votes over challenger Crystal Lett. The close margin triggers an automatic recount. State law requires a recount when the margin is within 0.5 percent. 

    UPDATE: With the Associated Press and other media organizations projecting that Vice President Biden will receive more than the required 270 electoral votes, this will mark the first time since 1960 that Ohio did not pick the eventual winner of the presidential election. This ends a streak of 14 straight presidential elections.


    On Tuesday, November 3, 2020, Ohioans, like the rest of the country, cast ballots in the 2020 general election. Many counties in Ohio and around the country reported record-breaking early voter turnout. Approximately 3.4 million Ohioans voted early by mail and in-person, and an estimated 311,519 absentee and provisional ballots remain outstanding. This early vote played a role in the way in which Ohio was called by most media outlets and continues to delay the results of several key Electoral College states.

    For a quick overview here in Ohio, The Buckeye State remains a fairly reliable Republican stronghold. President Trump won the state, improving on his vote total from 2016 and holding an unofficial lead in Ohio of more than 470,000 votes. However, the Ohio Supreme Court gained one Democrat to narrow the current Republican majority (from 5-2 to a narrow 4-3 Republican majority). Besides the presidency, many Ohioans were watching the Ohio Supreme Court races. The Ohio Supreme Court’s role is important as Ohio wades through its new redistricting process that was changed by ballot initiative in 2018.  The Legislature will be in charge of redrawing Ohio’s congressional districts.  If the congressional maps are challenged after, then the Ohio Supreme Court could either overturn or agree with how the congressional maps were drawn. Since this process is new, additional procedural actions could be challenged up to the Ohio Supreme Court. Therefore, the Ohio Supreme Court will play a key role in how Ohio’s districts may look in 2022.  Justice Judi French lost her race for reelection against Judge Jennifer Brunner by nearly half a million votes. On the flip side, Justice Sharon Kennedy won her reelection and defeated Judge John O’Donnell.

    Both the Ohio House and the Ohio Senate Republicans added additional seats to their existing supermajorities in the Ohio General Assembly. However, the 16th Senate District in suburban Columbus, remains in play. Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) has a small 41 vote lead against Crystal Lett (D-Columbus) with many provisional and late absentee ballots yet to be counted. Former Speaker Larry Householder’s (R-Glenford) reelection was another highly watched race during the evening, in which he successfully won his reelection against four write in candidates to continue to represent the 72nd House District. Finally, at the local level, one race has implications for the statehouse where, Ron O’Brien, longtime Franklin County Prosecutor, lost his race to his Democratic challenger, Gary Tyack. The Franklin County Prosecutor also plays a role in state government, because the office possesses additional prosecutorial jurisdiction. For example, possible violations of state legislative ethics laws committed by legislators are referred to the Franklin County Prosecutor.

    In addition to the President and two seats on the Ohio Supreme Court, all 16 Ohio U.S. Congressional seats were up.  In 2020 in Ohio no U.S. Senate seats were contested. All 99 seats in the Ohio House of Representatives and 16 Ohio Senate seats were on the ballot.

    Here is Bricker & Eckler’s overview of the preliminary 2020 General Election results and details on races of particular interest.

    Presidential

    President Donald J. Trump cruised to victory in Ohio, capturing over 3 million votes and 53.36 percent of the vote. The President again saw large voter enthusiasm in rural parts of Ohio and ended up improving his overall share of the vote compared to 2016 by 233,413 votes. This increase countered former Vice President Biden, who received 209,517 more votes than former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did in 2016. The increased overall votes reflected a record breaking turnout in Ohio. Nationally, however, many states were too close to call or still counting votes at the time of this memorandum, so the overall election for President remains unknown.

    FEDERAL RACES

    U.S. House of Representatives

    All of  Ohio’s incumbent Members of Congress:  Marcia Fudge (D), Marcy Kaptur (D), Troy Balderson (R), Mike Turner (R), David Joyce (R), Tim Ryan (D) and Steve Stivers (R) all won re-election. Steve Chabot (R), Brad Wenstrup (R), Joyce Beatty (D), Jim Jordan (R), Bob Latta (R), Bill Johnson (R), Bob Gibbs (R) and Warren Davidson (R) were successful and Ohio’s delegation remains 12 Republicans and 4 Democrats. Nationally, Democrats are currently projected to maintain control of the House, but, with several races too close to call, Republicans appear to have gained 5 seats.

    There were no races for the United States Senate in Ohio this year – U.S. Senator Rob Portman will face his next re-election bid in November 2022.

    OHIO RACES

    Ohio Supreme Court

    Two current Republican Justices on the Ohio Supreme Court, Justice Judi French and Justice Sharon Kennedy, were up for reelection on Tuesday, with the partisan balance of the court hanging on the outcome of those races. In the end, it was a split decision. Justice Judi French was defeated by her opponent, 10th District Court of Appeals Judge Jennifer Brunner by approximately 500,000 votes statewide. Justice Sharon Kennedy defeated her opponent Cuyahoga County Common pleas court judge, John P. Donnell. Republicans now hold a narrow 4-3 majority going into the 2022 election cycle where two more incumbent Republican Justices – Justice Pat DeWine and Justice Pat Fischer – will face re-election, as well as an open seat being created by Justice Maureen O’Connor’s forced departure from the court due to Ohio’s 70-years-of-age limit on judicial candidates.

    Ohio House of Representatives: Overview

    Ohio’s House Democrats hoped to duplicate success from 2018, however, House Republicans appear to have picked up several seats instead. The House Majority caucus will hold 64 of the chamber’s 99 seats, up from 61, following the inauguration. Republicans were able to defeat a two incumbent legislators and win open seats that had been held by Democrats. Ohio Democrats lost races in the Mahoning Valley and Appalachia, but also in some suburban areas of Dayton and Columbus, where they had high hopes. The House Republican’s victories are more impressive considering House Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima) had only 90 days to rebuild a campaign war chest and infrastructure after the majority caucus was rocked by the allegations against former House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenford) rendered previously raised caucus campaign funds unavailable while the federal investigation into the former Speaker continues.

    Ohio House of Representatives: Races of Interest

    Incumbent Representatives Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) and Gil Blair (D-Mineral Ridge) lost their bids for reelection.

    The 43rd House District was an open seat that Democrats hoped to pick up. Instead, Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech (R-W. Alexandria) defeated Amy Cox (D- Eaton).

    Ron Ferguson (R-Wintersville) and Richard Olivito (D-Stuebenville) ran against each other for the 21st House District, which is currently held by term limited Representative Jack Cera (D-Bellaire), with Mr. Ferguson winning.

    House Republicans worked to ward off Democrat challengers for the suburban districts. Ohio’s House 16th District Incumbent David Greenspan (R-Westlake) faced a challenge in a tough district by Monique Smith (D- Fairview Park) and it appears Ms. Smith narrowly prevailed with 50.88 percent of the vote.

    Meanwhile, incumbent Laura Lanese (R-Grove City) defeated Nancy Day-Acauer (D-Columbus) for the 23rd House District.

    In Cincinnati’s 28th District, usually one of the most competitive districts in the state, incumbent Jessica Miranda (D-Cincinnati) defeated challenger Chris Monzel (R- Cincinnati), 51.72 percent of the vote in a rematch from 2018.

    Ohio House of Representatives Preliminary Results

    (Election winners are in bold.)

    District Number

    Incumbent

    Republican

    Democrat

    1

    Scott Wiggam

    Scott Wiggam

    Allison Theiss

    2

    Mark Romanchuk

    Marilyn John

    Sam Grady

    3

    Haraz Ghanbari

    Haraz Ghanbari

    Laurel Johnson

    4

    Robert R. Cupp

    Robert R. Cupp

     

    5

    Tim Ginter

    Tim Ginter

    Daniel Winston

    6

    Phil Robinson

    Shay Hawkins

    Phil Robinson

    7

    Tom Patton

    Tom Patton

    Joan Sweeny

    8

    Kent Smith

    Chris Litwinowicz

    Kent Smith

    9

    Janine Boyd

    Dustin Russell

    Janine Boyd

    10

    Terrence Upchurch

     

    Terrence Upchurch

    11

    Stephanie Howse

     

    Stephanie Howse

    12

    Juanita Brent

    Jerry Powell

    Juanita Brent

    13

    Michael Skindell

    Daniel Harrington

    Michael Skindell

    14

    Bride Rose Sweeney

    Lynn McMahan

    Bride Rose Sweeney

    15

    Jeffrey Crossman

    Kevin Kussmaul

    Jeffrey A. Crossman

    16

    Dave Greenspan

    Dave Greenspan

    Monique Smith

    17

    Adam Miller

    Tim Haske

    Adam Miller

    18

    Kristin Boggs

    Kayla Packard

    Kristin Boggs

    19

    Mary Lightbody

    Meredith Freedhoff

    Mary Lightbody

    20

    Richard Brown

    Chris Baer

    Richard Brown

    21

    Beth Liston

    Mehek Cooke

    Beth Liston

    22

    David Leland

     

    David Leland

    23

    Laura Lanese

    Laura Lanese

    Nancy Day-Achauer

    24

    Allison Russo

    Patrick Manley

    Allison Russo

    25

    Bernadine Kennedy Kent

    Jim Burgess

    Dontavius Jarrells

    26

    Erica Crawley

    Steve Blake

    Erica Crawley

    27

    Tom Brinkman

    Tom Brinkman

    Sara Bitter

    28

    Jessica Miranda

    Chris Monzel

    Jessica Miranda

    29

    Cindy Abrams

    Cindy Abrams

     

    30

    Bill Seitz

    Bill Seitz

     

    31

    Brigid Kelly

     

    Brigid Kelly

    32

    Catherine Ingram

     

    Catherine Ingram

    33

    Sedrick Denson

    Mary Hill

    Sedrick Denson

    34

    Emilia Sykes

    Henry Todd

    Emilia Sykes

    35

    Tavia Galonski

    Jodi Lynn Sarver

    Tavia Galonski

    36

    Anthony DeVitis

    Bob Young

    Matt Shaughnessy

    37

    Casey Weinstein

    Beth Bigham

    Casey Weinstein

    38

    Bill Roemer

    Bill Roemer

    Joe Campbell

    39

    Fred Strahorn

    John Mullins III

    Willis Blackshear Jr.

    40

    Phil Plummer

    Phil Plummer

    Leronda Jackson

    41

    Jim Butler

    Andrea White

    Cate Berger

    42

    Niraj Antani

    Tom Young

     

    43

    Todd Smith

    Rodney Creech

    Amy Cox

    44

    Paula Hicks-Hudson

    Robert McMahon

    Paula Hicks-Hudson

    45

    Lisa Sobecki

    Shane Logan

    Lisa Sobecki

    46

    Michael Sheehy

    Steven Salander

    Michael Sheehy

    47

    Derek Merrin

    Derek Merrin

    Nancy Larson

    48

    Scott Oelslager

    Scott Oelslager

     

    49

    Thomas West

    James Haavisto

    Thomas West

    50

    Reggie Stoltzfus

    Reggie Stoltzfus

    Brian Simeone

    51

    Sara Carruthers

    Sara Carruthers

     

    52

    George Lang

    Jennifer Gross

    Chuck Horn

    53

    Candice Keller

    Thomas Hall

    Michelle Novak

    54

    Paul Zeltwanger

    Paul Zeltwanger

    Morgan Showen

    55

    Gayle Manning

    Gayle Manning

    Zach Stepp

    56

    Joe Miller

    Bradley Lacko

    Joe Miller

    57

    Dick Stein

    Dick Stein

    Dara Adkison

    58

    Michele Lepore-Hagan

    David Simon

    Michele Lepore-Hagan

    59

    Alessandro Cutrona

    Alessandro Cutrona

    Chris Stanley

    60

    John Rogers

    George Phillips

    Daniel Troy

    61

    Jamie Callender

    Jamie Callender

    Adam Dudziak

    62

    Scott Lipps

    Scott Lipps

    Erin Rosiello

    63

    Gil Blair

    Mike Loychik

    Gil Blair

    64

    Michael O’Brien

    Martha Yoder

    Michael O’Brien

    65

    John Becker

    Jean Schmidt

    Alan Darnowsky

    66

    Doug Green

    Adam Bird

     

    67

    Kris Jordan

    Kris Jordan

    Rachael Morocco

    68

    Rick Carfagna

    Rick Carfagna

    Steven Mount

    69

    Steve Hambley

    Sharon Ray

    Donna Beheydt

    70

    Darrell Kick

    Darrell Kick

    Kevin Barnet

    71

    Mark Fraizer

    Mark Fraizer

    Mark Carr

    72

    Larry Householder

    Larry Householder

     

    73

    Rick Perales

    Brian Lampton

    Kim McCarthy

    74

    Bill Dean

    Bill Dean

     

    75

    Randi Clites

    Gail Pavliga

    Randi Clites

    76

    Diane Grendell

    Diane Grendell

    Garrett Westhoven

    77

    Jeff LaRe

    Jeff LaRe

    Melissa Wilde

    78

    Ron Hood

    Brian Stewart

    Charlotte Owens

    79

    Kyle Koehler

    Kyle Koehler

    Cynthia Richards

    80

    Jena Powell

    Jena Powell

    Ted Jones

    81

    Jim Hoops

    Jim Hoops

     

    82

    Craig Riedel

    Craig Riedel

     

    83

    Jon Cross

    Jon Cross

     

    84

    Susan Manchester

    Susan Manchester

    Joe Monbeck

    85

    Nino Vitale

    Nino Vitale

     

    86

    Tracy Richardson

    Tracy Richardson

    Tiffanie Roberts

    87

    Riordan McClain

    Riordan McClain

    Nicholas Barnes

    88

    Bill Reineke

    Gary Click

    Chris Liebold

    89

    D.J. Swearingen

    D.J. Swearingen

    Alexis Miller

    90

    Brian Baldridge

    Brian Baldridge

     

    91

    Shane Wilkin

    Shane Wilkin

    Scott Dailey

    92

    Gary Scherer

    Mark Johnson

    Beth Workman

    93

    Jason Stephens

    Jason Stephens

     

    94

    Jay Edwards

    Jay Edwards

    Katie O’Neill

    95

    Don Jones

    Don Jones

     

    96

    Jack Cera

    Ron Ferguson

    Richard Olivito

    97

    Adam Holmes

    Adam Holmes

    Alaina Swope

    98

    Brett Hillyer

    Brett Hillyer

    Todd Beegle

    99

    John Patterson

    Sarah Fowler

    Richard Dana

     

    The Ohio Senate

    The Ohio Senate is currently controlled by Republicans by a 24-9 margin. There were 16 Senate seats up for election this year. While there were a few interesting seats to watch, Republicans kept control of the upper chamber handily and may have increased their hold on the chamber to 25 seats.

    Senate Republicans picked up the seat held by incumbent Senator Sean O’Brien (D-Cortland) when Sandra O’Brien (R-Rome) won with 50.9 percent of the vote.

    Current Senate Finance Chairman, Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls) prevailed in close race against Tom Jackson (D-Solon) for the 24th Senate District.

    One race is still too close to call. Incumbent Senator Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) is narrowly leading Crystal Lett (D-Columbus) for the 16th District seat, holding on by only 41 votes. Given the narrow margin the race is expected to trigger Ohio’s automatic recount law, which requires a recount if the election is within 0.5 percent.

    Ohio Senate Preliminary Results

    (Election winners are in bold.)

    District Number

    Incumbent

    Republican

    Democrat

    2

    Theresa Gavarone

    Theresa Gavarone

    Joel O’Dorisio

    4

    Bill Coley

    George Lang

    Kathy Wyenandt

    6

    Peggy Lehner

    Niraj Antani

    Mark Fogel

    8

    Louis Blessing III

    Louis Blessing III

    Daniel Brown

    10

    Robert Hackett

    Robert Hackett

    Charles Ballard

    12

    Matt Huffman

    Matt Huffman

    Ken Poling

    14

    Terry Johnson

    Terry Johnson

    Ryan Ottney

    16

    Stephanie Kunze

    Stephanie Kunze

    Crystal Lett

    18

    John Eklund

    Jerry Cirino

    Betsy Rader

    20

    Tim Schaffer

    Tim Schaffer

    Christian Johnson

    22

    Larry Obhof

    Mark Romanchuk

    Steve Johnson

    24

    Matt Dolan

    Matt Dolan

    Tom Jackson

    26

    Dave Burke

    Bill Reineke

    Craig Swartz

    28

    Vernon Sykes

    Michael Downey

    Vernon Sykes

    30

    Frank Hoagland

    Frank Hoagland

    Michael Fletcher

    32

    Sean O’Brien

    Sandra O’Brien

    Sean O’Brien

     

    Court of Appeals

    While Ohio Democrats had an off night in legislative races, they made several electoral gains in the judiciary. While the Ohio Supreme Court races garnered most of the attention, the state’s Courts of Appeals also had several marquee matchups. Democrats swept in the First and Tenth District Court of Appeals, which reflected changing demographics in Franklin and Hamilton County.

    District Number

    Incumbent

    Candidate #1

    Candidate  #2

    1

    Russell Mock

    Russell Mock

    Ginger Bock

    2

     

    Chris Epley

    Marshall Lachman

    3

     

    Mark Miller

     

    4

    Peter Abele

    Peter Abele

     

    5

    William Hoffman

    William Hoffman

    Jeff Furr

    6

    Thomas Osowik

    Thomas Osowik

     

    6

     

    Charles Sulek

    Myron Duhart

    7

    Carol Ann Robb

    Carol Ann Robb

     

    7

    Cheryl Waite

    Cheryl Waite

     

    8

    Sean Gallagher

    Sean Gallagher

     

    8

    Larry Jones

    Larry Jones

     

    8

     

    Emanuella Groves

    Pamela Hawkins

    8

    Anita Laster Mays

    Anita Laster Mays

     

    8

    Ray Headen

    Ray Headen

    Lisa Forbes

    9

    Julie Schafer

    Julie Schafer

    Betty Sutton

    10

     

    Colleen O’Donnell

    Michael Mentel

    10

    Lisa Sadler

    Lisa Sadler

    Terri Jamison

    11

     

    Matt Lynch

     

    11

     

    Cynthia Westcott Rice

    Sarah Thomas Kovoor

    12

     

    Matthew Bryne

     

    12

    Robert Hendrickson

    Robert Hendrickson

     

     

    STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION CANDIDATES

    Six of eleven seats on the State Board of Education were up in the 2020 general election. A term limited legislator, Representative Ron Hood, ran for one of the seats, but lost his bid.

    District Number

    Incumbent

    Candidate #1

    Candidate #2

    Candidate #3

    1

    Linda Haycock

    Diana Fessler

     

     

    5

    Lisa Woods

    Lisa Woods

    Christina Collins

     

    6

    Antoinette Miranda

    Antoinette Miranda

    Alice Nicks

     

    9

    Stephanie Dodd

    Ron Hood

    Michelle Newman

     

    10

     

    Mary Binegar

    Brendan Shea

     

    11

    Meryl Johnson

    Meryl Johnson

    Michele Elba

    Richard Neale

     

    LOCAL RACES

    Franklin County Commissioners

    Incumbent Franklin County Commissioners John O’Grady (D) and Kevin Boyce defeated their Republican challengers, with both Commissioners receiving 65 percent of the vote in the respective races.

    Franklin County Prosecutor

    One bright spot for Ohio Democrats was the Franklin County Prosecutor race where former Court of Appeals Judge Gary Tyack defeated longtime incumbent Republican Franklin County Ron O’Brien. Tyack received 53 percent of the vote.

    Hamilton County Commissioners

    Former Ohio House of Representative and Ohio Legislative Black Caucus Chair Alicia Reese (D) defeated Republican business man Andy Black (R). Reese won 50.57 of the vote. Incumbent Commissioner Denise Driehaus (D) also won, receiving 58 percent of the vote.

    Hamilton County Prosecutor

    Current Hamilton County Prosecutor Joseph Deters (R) faced a tough challenge from Former Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge, Fanon Rucker, but prevailed with 52.7 percent of the votes reported.

    Belmont County Commissioner

    Incumbent Republican J.P. Dutton was challenged by Vince Gianangeli, former director of Belmont County Department of Job and Family Services and current fiscal officer of Colerain Township, as an independent. Commissioner Dutton emerged victorious by a margin of over 4,000 votes.

    SCHOOL LEVIES

    Ohio’s school districts saw mostly positive results with 67 percent of levies passing. Overall, 83 of 123 school levies passed. Examples of school district levies that passed included Cincinnati Public, Delaware City, Fairborn City, North Union, and Youngstown City.

    Gahanna-Jefferson School District’s levy, at the time this memorandum was drafted, was passing by only 2 votes.

    LIBRARY LEVIES

    Ohio’s libraries continued receiving the strong community support they’ve grown accustomed to with 13 of 14 levies (92.86 percent) passing.

    Library System

    Result

    Barberton Public Library

    Passed

    Birchard Public Library District

    Passed

    Brumback Library

    Passed

    Brown Memorial Library

    Passed

    Champaign County 

    Passed

    Cuyahoga County Public Library

    Passed

    Cuyahoga Falls Library

    Passed

    Huron County Community Library;

    Passed

    Massillon Public Library

    Passed

    Mohawk Community Library

    Passed

    Mt. Gilead Public Library

    Passed

    Newcomerstown Public Library

    Passed

    Portage County District Library

    Failed

    Seneca East Public Library

    Passed

    Washington County Public Library

    Passed

    Wood County District Public Library

    Passed

     

    OTHER LOCAL ISSUES

    In Columbus, two ballot measures passed. Issue 1 authorized aggregation for electric and natural gas utility services. The ambitious aggregation program calls for the city to receive 100% of its electric power from renewable sources by 2022, carbon neutral by, and would be one of the largest aggregation programs in the country.

    Issue 2 creates a new citizen police oversight board. Columbus, like many other large cities in the nation, saw increased racial tensions between citizens and the police department. The citizen police oversight board was part of a broader package of proposed reforms to help ease those tensions and reform police practices.

    CONCLUSION

    Ohio Republicans, after a strong election night showing, appear to have expanded their super majorities in both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly. The legislature will soon return for lame duck session and close out the 133rd General Assembly. Lame duck usually features a flourish of activity as legislators attempt to finish work before the General Assembly ends. Looking ahead to the 134th General Assembly, while the political margins of each Chamber will resemble the current legislature there are still many questions unresolved.

    The Ohio Senate will have new leadership, with current Senate President Obhof leaving due to term limits. House Speaker Cupp will need to run for Speaker again, while the former Speaker remains a member of the Chamber. Governor DeWine and legislators will also need to enact a new two year state budget, while possibly dealing with budget constraints caused by economic slowdowns from the coronavirus pandemic.

    As results are finalized, we’ll update with any developments – if you have questions or would more information on any of the races outlined above, please feel free to reach out to any member of our Government Relations group.


    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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