Incumbent Republican lawmaker J. Todd Smith announced Friday that he won’t seek re-election and is dropping out of the March 17 GOP primary for the 43rd Ohio House district.
In a statement issued Friday, Smith, R-Germantown, did not give specifics about his decision, saying “… I have decided to re-set my priorities, put my family first and devote more time at home, therefore I will not seek reelection.”
Smith said he will serve out the remainder of his term, which ends in December 2020.
Smith, who was appointed to the House in July 2018, is pastor of The Church at Farmersville. He and his wife have four children.
With Smith out of the race, it is expected that Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech will win the primary and face Democrat Amy Cox, a public school teacher, in the general election.
The district covers parts of Englewood, Clayton, Trotwood, western Montgomery County and all of Preble County. Statistically, the district is almost split evenly between registered Democrats and Republicans.
Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder, R-Glenford, said Smith’s departure from the race casts doubt on whether the GOP can hold the seat.
“Frankly, without Todd on the ballot, I think it’s going to be a much more difficult proposition,” Householder said.
The race for the seat in 2018 was one of the closest races in the state.
Smith defeated former Democratic Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley — 50.53% to 49.47%.
RELATED: Local race for state senate heats up
Republicans currently hold 61 of 99 seats in the House.
GET READY FOR ELECTION DAY
* The deadline to register to vote for the Ohio primary election is Feb. 18.
* Early voting starts on Feb. 19.
*The Ohio primary is set for March 17.
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