But in 2024, the big-ticket contest, after the presidency, will be for the U.S. Senate seat held by Cleveland Democrat Sherrod Brown, now in his third term.
Republican scuttlebutt is that Republican Secretary of State Frank LaRose, of suburban Columbus, is among those gearing up to challenge Brown, who won the Senate seat in the first place by unseating DeWine in 2006.
LaRose was one of the Ohio Republicans who appeared in Youngstown on Sept. 17 at a GOP rally featuring Trump. (So, in a rather nervy move, did this year’s three Republican candidates for the supposedly-above-politics Ohio Supreme Court, run 4-3 by the GOP.)
Meanwhile, even as Campaign ‘24 emerges on Nov. 9, so too will politicking get into high gear at the Statehouse – not even counting the GOP fight over the House speakership. Leading candidates: Dayton Rep. Phil Plummer, once Montgomery County’s sheriff, and Rep. Jason Stephens, of Gallia County’s Kitts Hill.
The General Assembly is expected to reconvene after the election to hold one of its always rambunctious “lame duck” sessions. That is, some House and Senate members who likely will never again face voters may act on legislation way too hot to handle before the election.
Traditionally, lame-duck sessions, such as 2018′s, are when legislators give themselves pay-raises. That’s unlikely during this year’s lame-duck session because the 2018 pay-raise bill (passed over Republican then-Gov. John R. Kasich’s veto) annually boosts legislative pay every year through 2028.
This year, base pay for a member of the General Assembly is $68,674 for what is legally a part-time job. The Census reports that median household income in Ohio is $58,116.
Bottom line, anti-abortion, anti-transgender, and anti-critical-race theory measures may surface on the General Assembly’s to-do list, led off by anti-abortion bills. It’s inspirational to watch the General Assembly of a state with so many other pressing problems find the time to keep Ohio safely in the Stone Age on race, sex, and pregnancy.
The upside for the Statehouse banking, insurance and utility lobbies is that the fireworks those social issues ignite will distract voters from noticing sweetheart bills to boost the bottom lines of assorted special interests. No, to borrow the state’s one-time development slogan, profit certainly isn’t a dirty word in Ohio. But progress is.
Thomas Suddes is a former legislative reporter with The Plain Dealer in Cleveland and writes from Ohio University. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.