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Low turnout and incumbent upsets mark Ohio's Aug. 2 primary

Written on Aug 5, 2022
Compiled from Hannah News Service reports

Ohio House:

Two Republican challengers with construction industry backgrounds knocked off state party-endorsed Reps. Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) and Shawn Stevens (R-Sunbury) in Tuesday’s primary election, according to preliminary results. Meanwhile, a crowded Democratic primary for a Columbus-area seat is very close with just a few dozen votes between the two leading candidates.

Thaddeus Claggett, a civil engineer and construction contractor, defeated Fraizer for the 68th District seat in a rematch of the 2020 GOP primary. No Democrat filed to run in the seat. Fraizer was appointed to the House in 2019 to succeed former Rep. Scott Ryan, who joined the DeWine administration. Claggett won 58-42.

Beth Lear, vice president of government affairs for Associated Builders and Contractors of Ohio, defeated Stevens, who owns a title company, in the 61st District contest. Stevens was appointed to his seat earlier this year by House Republicans after Rep. Rick Carfagna (R-Westerville) resigned to join the Ohio Chamber of Commerce; Lear had also sought the appointment. (See The Hannah Report, 3/9/22.) Lear won with more than 58 percent of the vote.

Lear will face Democratic candidate and LEAD Ohio Deputy Director Louise Valentine, who previously ran for the 19th Senate District seat in 2018 and lost to Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware).

Both Fraizer and Stevens were endorsed by the Ohio Republican Party.

Rep. Susan Manchester (R-Lakeview) avoided the same fate in the next closest contest for an incumbent, edging physician J.J. Sreenan by more than 1,000 votes for a 55-45 victory. Manchester was drawn in to the same district as an incumbent, but a term-limited one – Speaker Bob Cupp (R-Lima).

Rep. Darrel Kick (R-Loudonville) performed similarly in his primary, defeating conservative activist and attorney Scott Pullins by about 57-43 for the 98th District GOP nomination.

Results early in the night appeared to show a tight contest in the 46th District for Rep. Thomas Hall (R-Middletown), whose challenger, Matt King, had the backing of Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones. But Hall later opened up a double-digit lead.

Rep. Bride Sweeney (D-Cleveland) defeated Rep. Monique Smith (D-Fairview Park) in Tuesday’s only head-to-head incumbent matchup – this in the 16th District Democratic primary. The two were drawn together in redistricting. Sweeney will face Republican Michael Lamb in the fall.

In the crowded Democratic primary for the 3rd House District, attorney Ismail Mohamed had a slight lead of just 37 votes over Kelly Harrop, former aide to Rep. Kristin Boggs (D-Columbus). Other contenders Mayo Makinde, DaVon Marshall and Lamar Peoples were all 20-plus points behind the two leading candidates. Yet to be counted are provisional and late-arriving absentee ballots.

In the 21st District, where incumbent Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) successfully won the nomination to run for Senate this fall (see separate story, this issue), attorney Elliot Forhan won the three-way primary with about 57 percent of the vote.

Former Cincinnati-area Rep. Dale Mallory was unsuccessful in his bid to return to the Legislature, overwhelmingly losing the Democratic nomination in the 24th District to Dani Isaacsohn, a community organizer who got more than 82 percent of the vote.

In the 27th District, expected to be competitive this fall, nurse researcher Rachel Baker clinched the Democratic nomination 62-38 over tech entrepreneur Gavi Begtrup, while Jenn Giroux, owner of a religious items store, won the Republican primary with about 48 percent of the vote versus 40 percent for Joe Murray and 12 percent for Lindsay Cole.

In the open 41st House District in Lucas County, retired social worker Nancy Larson easily won the Democratic nomination over educator Colin Flanagan with about 65 percent of the vote. She will face Republican Josh Williams in the fall.

In the nearby 43rd House DistrictToledo City Councilwoman Michele Grim got more than 72 percent of the vote over pharmacy technician Daniel Ortiz in the Democratic primary, while small business owner Wendi Hendricks bested nursing home worker Kristi Kille in the GOP primary with about 66 percent of the vote.

In the 56th House District, a heavily Republican area where Rep. Paul Zeltwanger (R-Mason) is term-limited, Lebanon Vice Mayor Adam Matthews won the GOP nomination over Mason City Councilwoman Kathy Grossman. Writer Joy Bennett won the Democratic nomination over high school student Sam Cao.

In the 64th House District, where Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Warren) faces term limits, Vincent Peterson II, a constituent liaison for U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren), won the Democratic nomination over Bria Bennett, an operations manager and redistricting lawsuit plaintiff. He will face Republican Nick Santucci in the fall.

In the 67th House District, covering parts of Ashland and Medina counties, Melanie Miller, executive director of the Ashland County Pregnancy Care Center, easily won the GOP nomination over two others with 62 percent of the vote. She will face Democrat Drew Burge in the fall.

In the 82nd House District, where Rep. Craig Reidel (R-Defiance) opted for an unsuccessful congressional run, Paulding County Commissioner Ronald Klopfenstein easily defeated attorney Ted Penner with more than 70 percent of the vote.

In the open 84th House District seat, Mercer County Recorder Angela King easily won the three-way primary with more than 61 percent of the vote.

In the 85th District, Tim Barhorst, a small business owner who previously ran for a Franklin County seat in 2018, won the nomination to succeed term-limited Rep. Nino Vitale (R-Urbana) over the incumbent’s wife, Lilli Johnson Vitale, and farmer Rochiel Foulk. No Democrat has filed to run.

In the Youngstown area, where Rep. Michele Lepore-Hagan (D-Youngstown) can’t run for re-election because of term limits, Youngstown City Councilmember Lauren McNally led the four-way primary for the 59th District with more than 55.5 percent of the vote, versus about 30 percent for the next closest challenger, Ronald Shadd, a former Youngstown Schools Board of Education member.

Ohio Senate:
Sen. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) easily defeated State Board of Education member Kirsten Hill for the GOP nomination in the 13th Senate District, according to preliminary election results Tuesday.

Manning won with more than 67 percent of the vote.

Manning was the only Senate incumbent facing a serious challenge; Sen. Steve Wilson (R-Maineville) had a write-in opponent, Austin Kaiser.

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Kent Smith (D-Euclid) easily bested former Rep. John Barnes Jr. for the Democratic nomination in the 21st Senate District, which Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) must vacate due to term limits at year’s end. Smith got about 61 percent of the vote.

In the 17th Senate District, where incumbent Sen. Bob Peterson (R-Sabina) is term-limited, Rep. Shane Wilkin handily won the Republican nomination over Thomas Hwang, who previously ran in the special election for the 15th Congressional District, ultimately won by Mike Carey. Wilkin got more than 78 percent of the vote.

In the 19th Senate District, nonprofit executive Heather Swiger defeated Chrissie Hinshaw 68-32 in the Democratic primary and will face Sen. Andrew Brenner (R-Delaware) in the fall.

Historic low turnout:
Less than 8 percent of eligible Ohio voters participated in Tuesday's primary. According to the secretary of state's website, a total of 631,944 ballots were counted for the second primary election of the year – this one for members of the General Assembly, state central committees and some local ballot issues. Yet to be counted are 24,566 outstanding absentee ballots and 4,591 outstanding provisional ballots. This compares to a total of 1,659,377 votes cast in the state's first primary on May 3.

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