Analysis: Montgomery County Democrats lose competitiveness in GOP redistricting plan

Credit: Avery Kreemer

Credit: Avery Kreemer

The Ohio Redistricting Commission is currently considering a proposal that would reduce the competitive odds for Democrats in one local statehouse district, according to a Dayton Daily News analysis of the commission’s plan.

Under the current GOP proposal, the deep blue House district containing Dayton gets even bluer — and takes in the city of Oakwood — while the number of House districts where Democrats had a slight edge or that are toss-ups would be reduced from two to one.

The newspaper’s analysis is based on maps uploaded by the Ohio Redistricting Commission to the website Dave’s Redistricting, which looks at partisan lean based on composite election results from 2016-2020.

The new proposal leaves one tossup Senate district in Montgomery County, and leaves House and Senate districts largely unchanged in Greene, Clark and Butler counties.

By court order, the commission has been tasked with redrawing the state’s House and Senate districts ahead of the 2024 elections after its previous attempts to update the state’s legislative maps with 2020 census data were deemed unconstitutional on five separate occasions. A separate court order instated one of the commission’s maps into law, despite its unconstitutionality, in order to hold the 2022 elections and elected the current lawmakers to the General Assembly.

Under that map, Montgomery County was home to five House districts. Based on each district’s voting patterns from 2016 to 2020, those five districts broke down into two Republican strongholds (Districts 37 and 40); one Democrat stronghold (District 38); and two tossups (Districts 36 and 39).

In November 2022, the three strongholds each followed the party line while the two toss up districts were won by Republicans, ultimately resulting in Montgomery County being represented by four Republicans and one Democrat in the Ohio House.

The commission’s new proposal would take District 36, a tossup district won by Rep. Andrea White, R-Kettering, and slant it significantly more Republican. Currently, White’s district leans 48.8% Republican to 48.5% Democrat; the commission’s proposal would make it 54.9% Republican to 38% Democrat. White bested her Democrat challenger in November 2022 with 50.5% of the vote.

Elsewhere, the GOP proposal sees that county’s House districts largely maintain their voter proportions, despite changes in their geographical boundaries.

District 39, currently held by Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Dayton, after the former Montgomery County Sheriff overcame the competitive district’s two-point Republican deficit in 2022, would maintain its tossup status.

Districts 40 and 37, held respectively by Reps. Rodney Creech, R-West Alexandria, and Tom Young, R-Washington Twp., maintain their status as Republican strongholds.

District 38, held by Rep. Willis Blackshear, Jr., D-Dayton, would become even more Democrat leaning under the GOP’s new plan, which would see District 38 completely envelop the city of Dayton and pick up Oakwood. In the current map, the city of Dayton is split among Districts 38 and 36.

Each representative in the Ohio House is up for re-election in November 2024.

Senate district changes

Montgomery County has two Senate districts, Districts 6 and 5. Each, by law, are composed of three House districts.

Under the commission’s proposal, Senate District 6, which comprises House Districts 36, 37, and 38, maintains its 1-point Democrat edge. The district is currently held by Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, who was elected in 2020 and hasn’t faced reelection since his district pick up a large chunk of the City of Dayton.

Antani is up for reelection in November 2024.

District 5, which comprises House Districts 40, 80 and 39, maintains its strong Republican lean. The district is currently held by Sen. Stephen Huffman, R-Lima, who is up for re-election in 2026.

When will the maps become final?

It’s not yet clear when the commission might move its map to a vote, but its five Republican members have stressed that a timely solution is necessary to give the state’s county boards of elections adequate time to prepare for the 2024 March primary elections. The board’s two Democrats, on the other hand, have stressed the importance of slowing the commission down to ensure that citizens have the chance to make their voices heard.

Through four full meetings, the commission has yet to alter its GOP-drawn proposal. Its final scheduled meeting takes place 10 a.m. Tuesday at the Ohio Statehouse.

About the Author