On Tuesday, March 15, Ohioans cast ballots in the 2016 primary election. While the 2016 presidential election has been capturing most of the media spotlight, several other races of significance were contested. 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 Representative and Ohio Senate races with primary contests is also included below.)
As results continue to come in, please be advised that some of the information below may be incomplete. We will continue to update this publication over the next few days as the boards of elections finalize results. We hope this overview is helpful as we move into the next phase of the campaign season.
Governor John Kasich won the Ohio Republican primary race for president with 46 percent of the vote, beating out Donald Trump (36 percent), Ted Cruz (13 percent) and Marco Rubio (2 percent).
In May 2015, the Ohio General Assembly moved Ohio’s primary to allow Ohio to become a “winner takes all” state in the Republican primary race. Under party rules, if Ohio held its primary before March 15 (as it would have under previous law), delegates would be elected by congressional district and could go to multiple Republican presidential hopefuls. In September 2015, the Ohio Republican Party formally designated the primary election as a winner takes all contest to allow the top statewide vote-getter to take all 66 of Ohio’s Republican presidential delegates.
While polls tightened in the final few days before the primary, Hillary Clinton emerged as the victor in Ohio’s Democratic hybrid delegate selection primary where the former Secretary of State will win a proportional majority of the Buckeye State’s delegates. Clinton came away with 56 percent of the vote to Bernie Sanders’43 percent and Roque “Rocky” De La Fuente’s 1 percent.
Ohio Senator Rob Portman (R) successfully won his primary bid with 82 percent of the vote and will be on the November ballot as he seeks reelection in 2016. He faced a primary challenge from Republican Donald Eckhart. Eckhart previously ran for a state Senate seat in 2004 and for Congress in 2008 — both times as an independent candidate.
In a hotly contested Democratic primary, former Governor Ted Strickland beat Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, winning 65 percent of the vote to Sittenfeld’s 22 percent. The former governor is endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party while Sittenfeld ran as a “fresh face” and person to watch within the party. A third Democrat, Kelli Prather, was also unsuccessful in her challenge to Strickland, winning 12 percent of the vote.
U.S. House of Representatives
Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester) vacated his seat on October 31, 2015, and 17 candidates filed to fill his seat in Ohio’s 8th Congressional District. After a 15-way election for the special and primary, Warren Davison walked away the winner in both with 32 percent of the vote. Mr. Davidson is an Army veteran and works for his family’s manufacturing business. Other candidates included current Ohio Representative Tim Derickson (R-Oxford), who represents the 53rd District in the Ohio General Assembly, and Ohio Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), who represents 5th Ohio Senate District.
Former State Representative Steve Kraus lost his bid in Ohio’s 9th Congressional District. He hoped to challenge incumbent Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat, in November. Kraus, a Republican who represented the 89th General Assembly district, was removed from his post in the Ohio House of Representatives in July after he was convicted of a fifth-degree felony theft charge. Kraus faced a primary challenge from Republicans Donald Larson and Joel Lieske. Mr. Larson won the primary with 44 percent of the vote.
Ohio Supreme Court
Two Republican judges ran for the Ohio Supreme Court seat being vacated by Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger, who will step down at the end of the year due to mandatory judicial retirement at age 70. Judge Pat Fischer, who serves on the 1st District Court of Appeals in Hamilton County and Judge Colleen O’Toole of the 11thDistrict Court of Appeals faced off in the primary, with Judge Fischer winning with 54 percent of the vote.
Judge Fischer will face Judge John P. O’Donnell, a Democrat, in November. Judge O’Donnell is a Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court judge and unsuccessfully ran for the Ohio Supreme Court in 2014 against Justice Judith French.
Ohio Courts of Appeals
In the 3rd District, three Republicans ran for the seat being vacated by Judge Richard M. Rogers. Amy Ikerd is an assistant prosecutor in Mercer County, Richard Henry Palau is the city prosecutor for Tiffin, Ohio, and William R. Zimmerman sits on the Shelby County Court of Common Pleas. Judge Zimmerman won with 66 percent of the vote and will face Democrat Randall L. Basinger, a judge on the Putnam County Court of Common Pleas, in November.
Two Democrats filed to challenge incumbent Judge Matthew W. McFarland on the 4th District bench. Paul Price is a judge on the Pike County Court of Common Pleas and Valerie K. Gerlach works as an attorney in Portsmouth, Ohio. Ms. Gerlach won with 56 percent of the vote.
In Senate District 12, two former Republican state representatives filed to replace term limited Senate President Keith Faber (R-Celina). Representatives Matt Huffman (R-Lima) and John Adams (R-Sidney) faced off in the March primary election with Representative Huffman prevailing with 64 percent of the vote.
Incumbent Senator Larry Obhof (R-Medina) successfully withstood a challenge from fellow Republican Janet Folger Porter, winning the primary for the 22nd Ohio Senate district with 65 percent of the vote. Ms. Porter is the president of Faith2Action, an organization that has supported efforts to pass the “Heartbeat Bill” in Ohio. Senator Obhof was recently elected to serve as the Ohio Senate pro tempore, the second highest leadership position in the Senate. Prior to that, he served as the majority whip, also a key leadership position.
In the 24th Senate District, former Representative Matt Dolan won the Republican primary to replace term-limited Senator Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) in the Cuyahoga County district. With 44 percent of the vote, he looks to beat out Representatives Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) and Nan Baker (R-Westlake). He will face Democrat Emily Hagan in the general election. Hagan is the niece of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan, former Representative Bob Hagan and current Representative Michele Lapore-Hagan of the 58th House District.
Ohio House of Representatives
Representative Tom Brinkman (R-Cincinnati) faced a challenge from Heidi Huber in the 27th House District. Representative Brinkman secured a very narrow lead over Ms. Huber with 51 percent of the vote. Ms. Huber is a vocal opponent of the Common Core State Standards.
In the 51st House District, incumbent Representative Wes Retherford (R-Hamilton) won his primary challenge from former Representative Courtney Combs. Representative Retherford did not receive the endorsement of the Butler County Republican Party, which instead backed Representative Combs for the seat. The Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the Ohio House, assisted the incumbent in his race.
Larry Householder (R), former Speaker of the Ohio House, won the 72nd House District primary against Coshocton City Council President Cliff Biggers, securing 64 percent of the vote. Both sought to replace Representative Bill Hayes (R-Granville), who is running for Licking County prosecutor. Representative Hayes was successful in his primary race, beating Christopher Reame, a current assistant prosecutor.
Representative Tony Burkley (R-Payne) faced a primary challenge in the 82nd House District from Craig Riedel, a retired businessman from Defiance. Mr. Reidel won the primary with 53 percent of the vote. There is no Democrat running for the seat, so he will be unopposed in November.
State Representative Kevin Boyce (D-Columbus) and incumbent Paula Brooks faced off in the primary election for Franklin County commissioner. Representative Boyce won the context with 58 percent of the vote and will face Republican Terry Boyd in the general election in November.
Ohio House of Representatives Candidates *Primary election winners in bold
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Ohio Senate Candidates *Primary election winners in bold
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