Election roundup: Voters turn out, support OSCPA-backed candidates

Posted on Thursday, November 8, 2018 by Gary Hunt

By Barbara Benton, CAE, OSCPA VP of Government Relations

Voter turnout across Ohio and in many states throughout the nation wasn’t record setting in the Nov. 6 general election, but it certainly was strong as it topped 54%. The predicted blue tide washed up in some bedroom communities in central Ohio, but for the most part didn’t appear elsewhere in our state.

Celebrating 103 victories out of 114 endorsed candidates, including more than 30 open seats and numerous toss-up races, The Ohio Society of CPAs had an overall endorsement success rate of 90.4% for this presidential mid-term election. That number is a reflection of the significant research and careful consideration by the dozens of CPAs who served on the Society’s candidate endorsement committees, plus separate evaluation by members of the Executive Board. In addition to the public relations boost from OSCPA’s endorsement process, Ohio CPA/PAC provided significant financial support to endorsed candidates, totaling more than $200,000 for the election cycle.

STATEWIDE CANDIDATES

OSCPA-endorsed statewide candidates blew away pessimistic pre-election polling and claimed fairly easy victories across the board. OSCPA looks forward to working with Attorney General Mike DeWine and Secretary of State Jon Husted as they take over the Ohio reins in January as governor and Lt. governor, respectively; Auditor Dave Yost, who will serve as our next attorney general; Frank LaRose, who will trade his role as a state senator to serve as Ohio’s next secretary of state; State Rep. and former Senate President Keith Faber, who will become auditor of state; and current State Rep. Robert Sprague, who will become state treasurer.

Unfortunately, OSCPA’s two picks for the Ohio Supreme Court, Craig Baldwin and Mary DeGenaro, couldn’t overcome our state’s lack of party affiliation on the ballot, combined with the trend of Ohio voters to gravitate toward candidates with Irish-sounding names. Both were defeated as they respectively fell to Michael Donnelly and Melody Stewart. The addition of Donnelly and Stewart with bring the ratio of Ohio’s highest court to five Republicans and two Democrats.

OHIO HOUSE AND OHIO SENATE RACES

Of the 99 Ohio House races and 17 Ohio Senate races, an “official” winner has yet to be declared in a few contests, most notably the 3rd Ohio Senate District where current State Rep. Anne Gonzales leads by just 329 votes over an opponent that her own party refused to endorse. All three House districts in this Senate district were won this week by Democrats, but caucus leaders are cautiously optimistic that Gonzales will prevail after the provisional and remaining absentee ballots are counted.

In the Ohio Senate, Republicans picked up one seat (SD33) as current Rep. John Boccieri was defeated in what had been a fairly safe Democrat district. As a result, Republicans will enjoy an unprecedented 25 to eight margin, assuming Gonzales can hang on. All other House members seeking a move to the upper chamber were successful: Nathan Manning, Andrew Brenner, Kirk Schuring, Hearcel Craig, Theresa Fedor, Nicki Antonio, Kristina Roegner and Steve Huffman.

In the Ohio House, based on unofficial results, Republicans lost a net four seats – most from bedroom communities around Columbus – but still maintain strong majority control, 62-37. It remains to be seen what will happen with the looming Ohio House speaker’s election, as caucus candidates were largely split between camps for current Speaker Ryan Smith and former Speaker and current Rep. Larry Householder. All five of the losing open-seat Republicans OSCPA endorsed (Jim Trakas, Tim Barhorst, Stu Harris, Erik Yassinoff and Mike Rasor) supported Householder, which could impact the coming caucus vote. Balancing the Republicans’ loss of five districts was the Democrat’s loss of the open House District 59 in NE Ohio. Ohio state senators successfully making the move to the lower chamber included Scott Oelslager, Mike Skindell, Kris Jordan and Gayle Manning. In addition, a former House member, Jamie Callender, will also rejoin the House in January.

Also of note is that starting in January the Ohio House will have two CPAs in office! Rep. Gary Scherer, CPA, easily won reelection to his Circleville-area district, and Bill Roemer, CPA, successfully ran for an open seat in the Richfield area.

FEDERAL RACES

At the federal level, OSCPA-endorsed Sherrod Brown defended his seat in the U.S. Senate over OSCPA member Jim Renacci, CPA, who was also backed by The Ohio Society. This rare dual endorsement was the result of positive working relationships with both candidates.

OSCPA’s full slate of endorsed U.S. House candidates saw victory on Nov. 6, including a quick rematch from just three months ago of Rep. Troy Balderson vs. Danny O’Connor in central Ohio. In addition, newcomer Anthony Gonzalez was victorious in the 16th District, where he will fill Renacci’s seat. Ohio’s congressional delegation saw no changes in party control, remaining at 12 Republicans and four Democrats.

All in all, 72 out of the 80 candidates OSCPA endorsed for the Ohio House, 11 out of 12 of our Ohio Senate endorsements, all 14 U.S. House endorsements, and five of the eight statewide endorsed candidates were successful their respective races.

For election results on all Ohio races, visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website at https://vote.ohio.gov/ to view unofficial results. (Results will not be official until at least 10 days after the election to allow time to evaluate provisional ballots and count any outstanding absentee ballots.)


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