The Election Day dust has settled, and the ballots have been tallied (for the most part). Voters are now left to contemplate the results of key races while they wait to see how the outcomes will affect their state, their communities and the courtroom. To evaluate the trends, surprises and milestones of this year’s election, below is a summary of Election Day highlights among Ohio’s issues and races.
The 2014 general election included an unprecedented number of judicial races. With 70 of Ohio’s 225 judicial seats on ballots, some change in the composition of the courts was expected. Thirty-three newly elected judges, who serve six-year terms, will be taking office.
Sitting Supreme Court Justices Sharon Kennedy and Judi French were able to defend their seats, but eight incumbent judges, including six who were appointed by Governor Kasich, were ousted by competitors. In the courts of appeals, the following results were posted:
First District: Russell Mock defeated Fanon Rucker
Second District: Jeffrey Froelich, the incumbent, defeated challenger Robert Vaughn
Fifth District: Craig Baldwin retained his seat over Natalie Haupt
Seventh District: Carol Ann Robb defeated Anthony Donofrio
Ninth District: Julie Schafer defeated incumbent Eve Belfance
Tenth District: Jennifer Brunner defeated Amy O'Grady; Betsy Luper Schuster retained her seat by defeating Mary Jo Kilroy
Eleventh District: Cynthia Rice retained her seat over Geoffrey Weaver
Eleventh District: Incumbent Timothy Cannon retained his seat over challenger Ron Tamburrino
In one of the closest races in the state, Chryssa Hartnett inched past incumbent Curt Werren for Stark County Court of Common Pleas judge by just 29 votes. No winner will be declared until the provisional votes are counted, and a recount of all votes is a possibility.
Once again, voters placed value on public library services and approved 91 percent of the funding requests on this year’s ballot. Thirty-one library levies were approved, which includes six requests for new funding, as well as one bond issue. While three new levies were rejected, support for libraries remained high. The complete list of public library ballot issues and the unofficial results, prepared by the Ohio Library Council, can be found here.
As compared to the past decade, voters saw fewer school levies on their November ballots. In 2014, 164 school-related issues were brought before the public (as compared to 236 in 2010). While levy renewals or replacements were generally successful, new levies struggled to succeed. Overall, 65 percent of the levies were approved, including 21 new school taxes and 84 tax renewals. Ohio school districts that were unsuccessful this election may be faced with budget cut decisions, such as limiting facility improvements, discontinuing extracurricular activities or laying off personnel. A complete list of school issues, published by the Ohio School Board Association, can be found here.
Ohio Human Services
Issues related to human services, including developmental disability, behavioral health, senior and children’s services, had a successful election. Like libraries, voters agreed that these services enhance their communities and lent their support. Fifty-one human services levies appeared across more than 40 counties; a total of 43 levies passed. Of the successful levies, 12 introduced a new tax, added an additional tax or increased the existing tax rate to grow funding.