Voters are going to have plenty of candidates to choose from this year in southwest Ohio’s House and Senate races with Democrats fielding candidates in every race and incumbents facing primary challengers across the region, according to petitions filed by Wednesday’s deadline at local boards of election.
Republicans hold every state House and Senate seat but one in the Dayton region. They also hold large majorities in both the Ohio House and the Senate but Democrats are hoping to ride a mid-term wave of voter dissatisfaction and regain some seats. The Ohio House Democratic Caucus on Wednesday announced it had candidates for all 99 house seats.
“We are experiencing an unprecedented level of enthusiasm amongst Democrats here in Ohio,” said OHDC Executive Director Aaron Fisher. “This enthusiasm has produced a real appetite to hold Republican legislators accountable and to elect leaders that will be change agents in every corner of the state.”
Ohio Republican Party spokesman Blaine Kelly asked, “What platform do these 99 Democrats plan to run on? If it’s the same platform that statewide and federal Democrat candidates are using, which is to obstruct the booming economy, increasing wages and job opportunities that Republican policies have brought about, then they will meet the same fate in November — defeat.”
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The candidates who filed won’t know if they actually make the May 8 primary ballot until the local boards of election certify by Feb. 19 that they have at least 50 valid signatures of registered voters on their nominating petitions.
Here is a look at who filed to run in southwest Ohio.
Ohio Senate Races
One of the most competitive statehouse races in southwest Ohio will be the Ohio Senate 5th District, as State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, is stepping down due to term limits and to run for Miami County Commission.
The swing district seat has been held by both Democrats and Republicans over the years and typically features a hard-fought battle. There will be no contested primaries for the seat as just one Republican and one Democrat filed for the race. They are Democrat Paul Bradley of Dayton, who ran unsuccessfully for Dayton School board in 2017, and State Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City. Former Republican State Rep. Gene Krebs of Camden had announced he was running but he did not file petitions.
The 5th district includes most of the city of Dayton, west-central Montgomery County, southern Darke County and all of Miami and Preble counties.
State Sen. Steve Wilson, R-Maineville, faces Republican primary challenger Brad Lamoreaux of Lebanon.
Democrat Sara Bitter of Loveland faces no primary challenger.
The 7th district includes all of Warren and part of Hamilton counties.
Ohio House of Representatives
In the 39th District Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton filed for re-election faces a primary challenge from Walter J. Hickman Jr. of Dayton. No Republican filed in the race.
The 39th district includes most of the city of Dayton and Jefferson Twp.
Two Democrats and one Republican filed for the 40th District to replace term-limited State Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton.
They include Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, who also is chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Party, and Democrats Albert Griggs Jr., of Huber Heights and Ryan Taylor of Dayton.
The 40th district includes Huber Heights, Vandalia, Englewood and parts of Dayton, Riverside, Union and Butler and Clay townships
There will be no contested primaries in the 41st District. State Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, is running for re-election.
He will face Dayton School Board member John McManus, a Democrat, in November.
The 41st district includes Kettering, Oakwood and parts of Centerville, Dayton and Riverside.
The 42nd District primary and General Election will be an all-Miamisburg affair as all five of the candidates are from that city.
Two Republicans - Miamisburg Vice Mayor Sarah M. Clark and Marcus Rech - are challenging State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg. Zach Dickerson and Autumn J. Kerns filed for the Democratic primary.
The 42nd district includes Moraine, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Germantown and part of Centerville, and Washington, Miami and German townships.
The 43rd district race is expected to be one of the most competitive House races in the Dayton region. Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley, is unchallenged in the Democratic primary.
In the Republican primary voters will choose between Clayton Councilman Kenneth Henning and Jeffrey Todd Smith of Germantown.
The seat is being vacated by State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, who is running for Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Judge.
The 43rd district includes Trotwood, part of Dayton, Clayton, Brookville, New Lebanon and Harrison, Jackson and Perry townships, and all of Preble County.
Two primary challengers filed to run against State Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, who last March was arrested after he was found allegedly passed out drunk in a McDonald’s drive-thru with a loaded handgun in his vehicle. In May he was found guilty of operating a motor vehicle while impaired.
Retherford, former State Rep. Greg Jolivette and Sara P. Carruthers, all of Hamilton filed to run in the Republican primary
Democrat Susan Vaughn of Hamilton will face the winner in the November election.
The 51st district includes Hamilton, Fairfield and Ross Twp. in Butler County.
52nd, 53rd and 54th House
There will be no contested primaries in these three districts but each party is fielding a candidate for the Nov. 6 election.
Incumbent Republicans who filed are State Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester in the 52nd, State Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, in the 53rd and State Rep. Paul Zeltwanger, R-Mason, in the 54th.
Democrats challenging them are Kathy Wyenandt of Liberty Twp. in the 52nd, Rebecca Howard of Reily Twp. in the 53rd and Nikki Foster of Mason in the 54th.
The 52nd district includes Liberty, West Chester and Fairfield townships.
The 53rd district includes Monroe, Trenton, Oxford and surrounding townships in Butler County
The 54th district includes Middletown, Lebanon, Mason, part of Monroe and surrounding townships.
State Rep. Scott Lipps, R-Franklin, faces Daniel Kroger of Springboro in the Republican Party primary. The winner would compete against Democrat Jim Staton of Springboro in November.
The 62nd district includes Springboro, Franklin, Carlisle, Waynesville and most of northern and eastern Warren County.
State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, is being challenged by Jocelyn Smith of Fairborn in the Republican primary. The winner would face Democrat Kim McCarthy of Sugarcreek Twp., who does not have a primary challenger.
The 73rd district includes Beavercreek, Fairborn, Yellow Springs, Bellbrook and surrounding western Greene County townships.
State Rep. Bill Dean, R-Xenia is unopposed in the primary and in November will face Democrat Anne Gorman of Plain City. Democrat Steve W. Key of Wilberforce filed petitions but was not certified.
The 74th district includes Xenia, Cedarville and all of eastern Greene County as well as northeastern Clark County and all of Madison County
State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield will face Democrat Amanda Finfrock of New Carlisle in November as neither has a primary opponent.
The 79th district includes Springfield, New Carlisle and all of western Clark County as well as the southeastern part of the county.
A crowded field of Republicans will vie in the primary for the chance to challenge write-in Democrat Scott R. Zimmerman of Troy for the seat now held by State. Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, who is running for Ohio Senate.
The Republican primary includes Miami County Commissioner John W. “Bud” O’Brien of Troy, J.D. Winteregg, a Troy man who previously ran for Congress, Jena Powell of Arcanum and George H. Lovett of Tipp City.
The 80th district includes all of Miami County and southern Darke County.
Three Republicans and a Democrat are running for the seat now held by State Rep. Keith Faber, R-Celina, who is running for state auditor.
The Democrat is Joe Monbeck of Wapakoneta. Republicans running are Aaron Heilers of Anna, Susan Manchester of Lakeview and Travis Faber, a Celina man who is Rep. Faber’s nephew.
The 84th district includes northern Darke, most of Shelby and Auglaize counties and all of Mercer County.
State Rep. Nino Vitale, R-Urbana, joins a crowded field of Republicans who filed, including Justin G. Griffis and Joseph Ratermann, both of Sidney, and Rochiel V. Foulk of Urbana. Democrat Garrett Baldwin of Mechanicsburg also filed for the 85th.
The 85th district includes all of Champaign County and most of Logan County as well as southeastern Shelby County.
Other stories by Lynn Hulsey