On Tuesday, May, 3, 2022, Ohioans cast their ballots in the state’s Primary Election. May’s Primary Election did not include candidates for state legislative districts, due to the ongoing litigation regarding the new maps for state legislators created through the redistricting process. Candidates for state legislative districts will have a separate primary, likely held with the already scheduled special election on August 2, 2022.
The Ohio Supreme Court invalidated the fourth set of state legislative district maps on April 14, 2022, giving the Ohio Redistricting Commission until May 6, 2022, to approve a new set of maps. On April 20, 2022, a three-judge federal court panel ruled that it will impose the third set of maps if no resolution is reached by May 28, 2022. The Ohio Redistricting Commission is scheduled to meet on May 4, but it is unclear if the Commission will adopt a fifth map or let the third version take effect.
What follows is Bricker & Eckler’s overview of the preliminary May 2022 Primary Election results and details on races of particular interest.
In the state’s most hotly contested primary race, J.D. Vance won in a crowded primary to replace retiring Senator Rob Portman (R). Former President Donald Trump’s late endorsement of author J.D. Vance shook up a race that had no clear frontrunner, proving again to be a difference maker in Ohio Republican primaries. Vance took 32 percent of the votes, while former State Treasurer Josh Mandel finished second with 24 percent followed by State Senator Matt Dolan, who had 23 percent. Other candidates included former Ohio Republican Party Chair Jane Timken, businessman Mike Gibbons, Neil Patel, and Mark Pukita.
Congressman Tim Ryan cruised to victory over Morgan Harper and Traci Johnson. Ryan and Vance now move to face each other in a General Election showdown that could well decide the partisan balance of the United States Senate.
U.S. House of Representatives
Even with litigation still pending before the Ohio Supreme Court, the briefing schedule established by the Court enabled Ohio to hold Congressional primaries. The deadlines in the briefing schedule for the litigation over the new Congressional maps occur after the Primary Election. Races were held using the second set of Congressional district maps produced by the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which will remain in effect for at least the 2022 election cycle.
Thanks to results from the most recent census, Ohio lost one Congressional seat. Additionally two sitting members of Congress decided not to run for reelection. Congressman Anthony Gonzalez (OH-16) chose not to seek reelection and Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH-7) announced his retirement citing the reconfiguration of his new district placing him with almost an entirely new constituency. Max Miller, a former staffer for President Trump who originally announced a primary challenge of Congressman Gonzalez, ultimately ran in the 7th District and prevailed, with the support of the former President, in the Republican primary.
Congresswoman Shontel Brown held off former State Senator Nina Turner in the Democratic primary in Ohio’s 10th Congressional District. Ohio’s 8th Congressional District saw Congressman Warren Davidson hold off a challenge from former Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich in the Republican primary.
Elsewhere, J.R. Majewski pulled off a surprise victory over two sitting state legislators in the Republican primary to challenge long-time incumbent Democrat Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. Majewski earned the endorsement of former President Trump after the President learned of a Trump 2020 and a mural of the President’s face painted on the candidate’s front lawn.
In the open seat being vacated by Congressman Tim Ryan in Ohio’s 13th Congressional District, President Trump-backed candidate Madison Gesiotto Gilbert prevailed in the Republican primary and will face Democrat Emilia Sykes, a State Representative and the former State House Minority Leader.
Overall, incumbent Members of Congress easily prevailed in the remaining primaries.
United States House of Representatives preliminary results
(Election winners are in bold. All results are preliminary and subject to change pending final official tallies.)
James Condit, Jr.
Martin Heberling III
Madison Gesiotto Gilbert
Janet Folger Porter
Ohio Governor’s race
Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted prevailed in their primary challenge against former Congressman Jim Renacci, Joe Blystone, and former State Representative Ron Hood. Ultimately, Governor DeWine enjoyed a smooth path to receiving his party’s nomination again, with the race getting called rather early in the evening.
In a campaign of former mayors, Nan Whaley (Dayton) and John Cranley (Cincinnati) faced off for the right to run against Governor DeWine in the General Election. Ultimately Mayor Whaley and running mate Cheryl Stephens won easily, making Mayor Whaley the first woman to receive a major party nomination for Governor in Ohio’s history.
The matchup between DeWine and Whaley will prove interesting, if only because the two have shown a proclivity for working together on local government issues during DeWine’s first term.
Ohio’s down-ticket executive statewide races
In the only contested primary for Ohio’s other constitutional statewide executive offices, incumbent Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose won against former State Representative John Adams. The matchups for the General Election are below:
(Note: Italics designate the incumbent officeholder)
Secretary of State
Auditor of State
Treasurer of State
Ohio Supreme Court
There were not any competitive primary races for the Ohio Supreme Court on the ballot Tuesday. The General Election will decide the partisan balance of the Ohio Supreme Court. The current partisan makeup is four Republicans and three Democrats. This year’s election marks the first time candidates for Supreme Court and Court of Appeals will appear on the ballot with their partisan designation. Previously candidates ran in partisan primaries but appeared without a party ID in the General Election.
In the race to replace Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, who cannot run again due to Ohio’s age limitations for judicial candidates, current Supreme Court Justices Republican Sharon Kennedy and Democrat Jennifer Brunner face each other in the 2022 General Election. Incumbent Republican Justice Patrick DeWine draws 1st District Court of Appeals Judge Democrat Marilyn Zayas and incumbent Republican Justice Patrick Fischer is challenged by 10th District Court of Appeals Judge Democrat Terri Jamison this fall as well.
Most of the General Election slate is now established, with only General Assembly races remaining. The Ohio legislature returns soon to wrap up legislative work for the first half of 2022, likely finishing in early June. With an August 2 Primary Election leaving little time for campaigning before the General Election, the legislature is unlikely to return for committees or floor session until the lame duck session beginning in November.
Most analysts predict strong tailwinds for Republicans nationally. Traditionally, the sitting President’s political party loses ground in a mid-term election. Lingering COVID-19 concerns, inflation, and global unrest could also contribute to what many expect to be a strong Republican year. Ohio’s economy has mostly recovered from the pandemic and the excitement surrounding economic development announcements like the new Intel manufacturing facility also may boost incumbent Republicans. However, Ohio’s statewide elections are generally competitive, and it remains unclear if the ongoing redistricting legal challenges will influence voters in November.
This is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be legal advice and does not create or imply an attorney-client relationship.