State Rep. Niraj Antani announces run for state Senator on Wednesday. Photo by Jim Otte.

State Rep. Antani to run for state Senate seat covering most of suburban Montgomery County

Move sets up potential Republican primary with state Rep. Jim Butler to replace state Sen. Peggy Lehner who is stepping down due to term limits in 2020.

Miamisburg Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani announced Wednesday he is running for the state Senate to replace Sen. Peggy Lehner who is term limited.

“I am excited to announce that I am running for State Senator in 2020! Current State Senator Peggy Lehner has served our Dayton area community with distinction and is term limited next year.”

The 6th Senate District covers most of the Montgomery County suburban areas including Kettering, Oakwood, Miamisburg, Riverside, Huber Heights, Vandalia, Brookville, Centerville, Moraine and Germantown. It also includes some parts of east and south Dayton.

Antani has served in the Ohio House of Representatives since 2014, when he was selected by the Montgomery County Republican Party as a 23-year-old to fill the seat created by Terry Blair’s death. At the time he was the youngest lawmaker in the state.

RELATED: GOP considers 4 to replace Blair

He was elected to the seat later that year and has been re-elected twice.

RELATED: Incumbent GOP state rep facing primary battle for first time

In November 2018, Antani defeated Democrat Zach Dickerson to win re-election.

In May 2018, Antani faced two Republicans in a primary.

Antani accused state Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, of recruiting Miamisburg Vice Mayor Sarah Clark to run against him in an effort to clear his path for a state Senate run in 2020 to replace  Lehner. Antani easily defeated Clark and Republican Marcus Rech in the primary.

State Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood CHRIS STEWART / STAFF
Photo: Staff Writer

RELATED: Local Republican lawmakers trade accusations of ‘political ambition,’ ‘strange insult’

On Wednesday, Butler said he was going to wait until the state budget is finalized before he decides whether to run for the state Senate, setting up a primary with Antani.

“One of my most important duties is to work on Ohio’s biennial budget. This work will require all my time and attention over the next six months. After that, I will consider in what role I can best serve the community.

In his announcement Wednesday, Antani says he expects a primary, but didn’t mention Butler by name.

“I fully expect the Republican primary election in March of 2020 to be one of the most competitive races in Ohio,” he said.

State Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering
Photo: Staff Writer

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