Ohio Senate race: Dayton-area state rep launches campaign

Other Dems have pulled petitions for the seat held by Republican state senator

The Miami Valley’s sole Democratic state representative officially announced his campaign for the Ohio Senate, a seat long held by Republicans.

“When we come together across our differences and unite in a common cause, anything is possible,” state Rep. Willis Blackshear Jr., D-Dayton, said at a press conference Thursday at Dayton Metro Library’s west branch.

Blackshear was elected to the Ohio House in 2020. He said that if elected state senator, he hopes to continue work toward improving housing, boosting workforce development and strengthening public schools in the Miami Valley.

“As your next state senator, I will continue to stand with you against out-of-touch extremism,” he said.

Instead of seeking re-election to the state Senate, incumbent Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, will be running for Ohio’s second district in Congress in southeast Ohio.

According to Montgomery County Board of Elections records, Democrats Jyl Hall, Jocelyn Rhynard and Zachary Wilson have all also pulled petitions to run for the state senate seat. On the Republican side, Charlotte McGuire has already announced her candidacy for the position.

McGuire has served on the state board of education for the past seven years, and spent two years as the board’s president.

Hall is 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.

Rhynard is a Dayton Public Schools board member and is also on the board of directors for Planned Parenthood Southwest Ohio.

Dayton Daily News could not reach Wilson, a Dayton resident.

As for Blackshear’s current Ohio House seat, Innovation Ohio President and CEO Desiree Tims and Dayton Unit NAACP President Derrick Foward have each pulled petitions.

Blackshear said he hopes the next state representative to oversee the 38th house district will “continue to show up for the community.”

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

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