Blackshear to run for Senate seat as Dems eye opportunities

The Dayton-area statehouse delegation will see a shakeup next year as a result of the redistricting process that left a state Senate seat long-held by Republicans vulnerable to takeover by Democrats.

Dayton Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr., the sole Democrat representing the Miami Valley, told the Dayton Daily News this week that he’ll forego an Ohio House re-election campaign and instead vie for Senate District 6.

“Montgomery County needs a stronger voice for working families. I’m proud of my record in the House of Representatives, but after much consideration, this is something I’m gonna do,” Blackshear told the Dayton Daily News this week.

Incumbent Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, won’t say if he intends to run for reelection. Redistricting greatly undermined his odds, giving Democrats an 8-point edge, removing his voter base in Miamisburg from his district and adding in the city of Dayton.

Another Democrat who pulled candidacy petitions to run for Antani’s seat is Jyl Hall, a Kettering city councilwoman and daughter of former U.S. Rep. Tony P. Hall, a popular Dayton Democrat that represented the area in Congress for over two decades and previously held the Ohio 6th Senate District himself.

Some prominent Democrats are also eyeing the heavily Democrat-leaning 38th House District seat Blackshear is giving up to run for Senate.

Montgomery County Board of Elections records show Innovation Ohio President and CEO Desiree Tims and Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward have each pulled petitions.

Tims in 2020 ran to unseat Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Turner in Ohio’s 10th Congressional District but lost with just under 42% of the vote. Foward has served as Dayton Unit’s NAACP president since 2006.

All candidates interested in running for office need to have their petitions completed and filed by Dec. 20.

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