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Local state House seat drawing lots of candidates for competitive district

Ohio’s 43rd district is one of the most competitive in the state

The Dayton region’s most competitively balanced Ohio House district is getting plenty of attention with the filing deadline less than three weeks away.

Republican Clayton Councilman Kenny Henning on Friday formally announced he is running for the 43rd House District seat, which is split almost 50-50 between Democrats and Republicans.

“I hope to earn your support in the upcoming months, promote a plan to unify our district, and I hope to earn prayers from you immediately,” Henning said in a news release announcing his candidacy.

A Clayton native who has served on the council since 2012, Henning works as a judicial assistant to Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Erik Blaine.

RELATED: Foley wont run for re-election

Late Thursday, Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley, a Democrat, and Stephanie Garrett, a West Alexandria Republican, both confirmed they are running for the seat, which is now held by State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, and includes parts of Englewood, Clayton, Trotwood, western Montgomery County and all of Preble County.

Democrat Ralph Dean Brill of Brookville has also taken out nominating petitions for the seat.

Foley said he will say more about his candidacy at his formal announcement. He had earlier said he would serve out his commission term through this year and but not run for re-election.

Dan Foley, Montgomery County commissioner, speaks at the Engineers Club in Dayton. FILE (Staff Writer)

Garrett, who is president of the Preble County Convention and Visitors Bureau and assistant treasurer of the Ohio Republican Party, said she became involved in politics because she “wanted to teach my children that they could make a difference. So I got involved in my community and started working with candidates and the Republicans.”

Stephanie Garrett, president of the Preble County Convention and Visitors Bureau, is running as a Republican for the Ohio House 43rd District seat. (Staff Writer)

Henning said he is a supporter of gun rights and opposes abortion rights. He wants to focus on issues important to farmers and small businesses, trying to restore state funding cuts to local governments, and stop “state overreach to local schools.”

RELATED: Rezabek to seek judgeship, opens up hot race for Ohio House seat

“Columbus should not be determining how your tax dollars are being spent in our community and I will continue to work with Ohio’s Municipal League to see that rural townships and cities are not overlooked any longer,” Henning said.

The filing deadline for the May primary election is Feb. 7.

Rezabek on Thursday announced that he will not seek re-election and will instead run for judge in the Montgomery County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division.

RELATED: State Rep. Huffman running for Ohio Senate seat held by Bill Beagle

The Ohio House 43rd race and the Ohio Senate 5th, a seat now held by term-limited State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, are considered competitive “swing” districts because their partisan makeup is more evenly divided than most of the region’s districts.

The 5th Senate district includes most of the 43rd District, but is larger, encompassing most of the city of Dayton, west-central Montgomery County, southern Darke County and all of Miami and Preble counties.

State Rep. Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City, and former State Rep. Gene Krebs of Preble County have both said they are running in the Republican primary.

RELATED: Former state Rep. Gene Krebs running for Dayton-area state Senate seat

No Democrat has formally announced but Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Owens said he has at least one strong candidate who is interested.

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