OSCPA staff report
While results around the country didn’t agree with pundit predictions of a “red wave”, general election voters turned out in force to prove that, for the most part, Ohio pollsters got it right in 2022. OSCPA’s efforts to support pro-business Ohio candidates also saw success, with 74 of the 77 CPA-Preferred candidates winning. This level of success would not have been possible without the strong member support of Ohio CPA/PAC, which provided meaningful campaign support to incumbents who listen to and support OSCPA legislative and regulatory priorities. Many of these top-notch state legislators saw razor-thin victories and unfortunately, a couple of them lost by razor-thin margins, reinforcing the reality that every vote matters.
Republicans swept every constitutional statewide race by double-digit margins, affirming another term in office for Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted; Auditor Keith Faber; Secretary of State Frank LaRose; Attorney General Dave Yost; and Treasurer Robert Sprague.
Where the critical Ohio Supreme Court races are concerned, despite fears of very tight races, all three judicial candidates that OSCPA supported also saw double-digit wins: Sharon Kennedy will be Ohio’s next Chief Justice, and Justices Pat DeWine and Pat Fischer will each serve another six-year term. These positive results were critical to Ohio’s business community as the Supreme Court was just one seat away from flipping to activist control vs. jurists whose records show judicial restraint by not allowing their personal views to influence rulings.
Ohio’s state Senate and state House of Representatives races also saw many tough battles, though at the end of a very long night most incumbents pulled through. Senate Republicans added one seat to strengthen their control by a margin of 26-7, a supermajority not seen for decades. The Ohio House Republican majority increased by three or four seats, pending one race subject to a recount. As a result, their margin will increase to either 67-32 or 68-31. CPA Preferred candidates of note:
Rep. Bill Roemer (R-Richfield), the lone CPA in the Ohio General Assembly and OSCPA 2021 Outstanding Legislator Award winner, pulled out a late-night win in his newly drawn, Democrat-leaning Akron-area district. Roemer has sponsored many OSCPA priority bills and amendments during his four-year tenure in the House, including the bill allowing CPA candidates to sit for the CPA Exam at 120 hours. He also has sponsored numerous bills to improve our state and local tax codes.
Rep. Derek Merrin (R-Monclova) was yet another late-night winner and OSCPA 2021 Outstanding Legislator Award recipient, pulling ahead by a four-point margin. Merrin is the House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and has been hugely helpful to OSCPA in our efforts to enact commonsense state and local tax laws. Of note, he was a big proponent of securing municipal income tax refunds for remote workers during the pandemic.
Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) was not successful in his efforts to pull out a win in his newly drawn Stark County district. West, one of only four 2021 Outstanding Legislator Award winners, was a positive force in the Ohio House as a member of the House minority leadership and sponsored our bill to sit for the CPA Exam at 120 hours. He will be replaced by Jim Thomas (R-Jackson Township).
Rep. Dan Troy (D-Willowick) held on to defeat Republican George Phillips with 51% of the vote. Troy has been a sage voice of reason in the House, supporting OSCPA on many of our key tax priorities as a Ways and Means Committee member.
Rep. Richard Brown (D-Canal Winchester) has the closest state race of the general election, trailing Republican opponent Ronald Beach IV of Columbus by 96 votes out of 33,746. This race still has over 1,000 uncounted absentee votes and is headed for an automatic recount as it is within one-half of 1% of the total vote difference.
Sen. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson) pulled out a late-night win in her new Summit-County area district. Roegner has been a huge supporter and sponsor of OSCPA’s economic, licensure and tax climate priorities. She, too, was a 2021 Outstanding Legislator Award recipient.
Many key Ohio Statehouse races were somewhat off the radar as voter attention was focused on the U.S. Senate race. Polling showed it to be neck and neck throughout the fall, and that held true until the very end when J.D. Vance pulled out a win against Congressman Tim Ryan. As we all know, ultimate control of the U.S. Senate is still up in the air and may not be decided for several weeks pending the Georgia runoff on Dec. 6. Where the U.S. House is concerned, Democrats won the three close races – including the loss of longtime incumbent Congressman Steve Chabot of Cincinnati - shifting the Ohio Congressional Republican/Democrat margin to 10-5. Majority control of the U.S. House also is still undecided due to several tight races around the country where votes are still being counted.
For complete unofficial results on all Ohio state, statewide and federal races, go to the Ohio Secretary of State’s elections page at https://liveresults.ohiosos.gov/. For results on your local elections, visit your county board of elections website.