Ohio Statehouse primaries set for March election: Races to watch

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Candidates for a handful of open Ohio Statehouse seats and hotly contested primaries around the region filed petitions to run for office Wednesday, setting the stage for a busy election season heading into March.

All candidates listed here have filed petitions to run for office, but a few still need to have those petitions certified by election officials in the coming weeks. Here’s a list of the most critical races leading up to next year’s primary on March 19.

Partisan leans below are calculated from Ohio Redistricting Commission data.

Open races

Ohio Senate District 6 (Partisan index: Democrat +8): An open race is set to unfold in Montgomery County as incumbent Sen. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, opted to forego a reelection campaign and instead set his sights on southern Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District.

Antani’s Senate district, which encompasses Dayton, has long been held by Republicans; but a redistricting process from earlier this year gives Democrats an eight-point advantage moving forward. The district will have primaries for both Republicans and Democrats.

Who’s running:

  • Democrat Willis Blackshear, Jr., who currently represents Dayton in the Ohio 38th House District;
  • Democrat Jocelyn Rhynard, a Dayton Board of Education member affiliated with Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio;
  • Democrat Jyl Hall, a Kettering City Council member and the daughter of longtime Dayton politician Tony Hall;
  • Republican Charlotte McGuire, a member of the Ohio Board of Education who has already been endorsed by the Montgomery County Republican Party;
  • Republican Ryan Riddell, a Miamisburg real estate agent.

Ohio House District 38 (Democrat +55): Dayton’s House district is another open seat up for grabs next year due to Blackshear’s decision to run for Ohio Senate. Given that the district is effectively a guaranteed win for Democrats, March’s Democratic primary will be critically important. No Republican filed.

Who’s running:

  • Democrat Desiree Tims, president of progressive thinktank Innovation Ohio;
  • Democrat Derrick Foward, president of the Dayton Unit NAACP and vice president of the Ohio NAACP.

Ohio Senate District 10 (Republican +26): Incumbent Bob Hackett, R-London, is term-limited and unable to run for reelection. Senate District 10 wholly covers Greene, Clark and Clinton counties. Four candidates have filed to replace the outgoing state senator, which will result in both a Republican and Democratic primary in March.

Who’s running:

Ohio House District 71 (Republican +36 lean): Incumbent Rep. Bill Dean, R-Xenia, is term-limited and unable to run for reelection in his district that spans from Clinton County through the eastern half of Greene County to the southern half of Clark County.

The open seat has drawn a crowded Republican primary field.

Who’s running:

  • Republican Levi Dean of Xenia, a Xenia City Councilmember and son of the district’s incumbent;
  • Republican Josh Day of Xenia, an aerospace engineer who serves on the Xenia City School Board;
  • Republican Robert Fudge of Cedarville;
  • Republican Tyler Scott of Cedarville.

Ohio House District 55 (Republican +47 lean): Incumbent Rep. Scott Lipps, R-Franklin, is term-limited and unable to run for reelection in his district that spans northern, eastern and southern Warren County. A crowded GOP primary has formed to replace Lipps in the House.

Who’s running:

  • Republican Ben McCullough of Franklin, a sergeant first class in the United States Army Reserve;
  • Republican Kim Lukens of Loveland, a licensed social worker;
  • Republican C. Michelle Teska of Centerville, a business owner and longtime salesperson.

Incumbents facing primary challenges

House District 47 (Republican +23): Incumbent Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, faces a party-favored challenger in her district that spans from central Butler County to its northwestern reaches.

Carruthers faces a primary challenge from Diane Mullins, an anti-establishment Hamilton Republican endorsed by the county’s Republican after other GOP hopefuls dropped out. County party officials have taken issue with what they perceive as too-moderate stances by Carruthers, who did not vie for their endorsement.

House District 56 (Republican +27): First-term incumbent Rep. Adam Mathews, R-Lebanon, is facing intra-party challenges in his district that spans from southwest to central Warren County.

Mathews’ challengers include Heather Salyer of Franklin and Mason’s Kathy Grossmann, who serves on city council. Mathews secured a close win against Grossmann in the district’s primary in 2022.

House District 46 (Republican +31): Incumbent Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp., is facing a Republican challenger in his district despite being unanimously endorsed by the Butler County GOP. The district starts in central Butler county and reaches out to the eastern and northern border.

Hall is being challenged by Zach Stacy, a Monroe Republican who, according to his Facebook profile, serves on the city’s Parks and Recreation board.

House District 80 (Republican +48): Incumbent Jena Powell, R-Arcanum, will face a Republican challenger for the district representing Miami County and southern Darke County.

Johnathan Newman, senior pastor at Koinos Church in Troy, filed petitions to challenge Powell in the GOP primary.

Senate District 4 (Republican +26): Incumbent George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., faces two primary challengers in a heavily Republican district that covers most of Butler County.

Lang, a second-term state senator with strong focuses on Ohio businesses and taxes, is being challenged by Candice Keller of Middletown, a staunch anti-abortion politician who served in the House from 2016-2020; and Mark Morgan of Middletown, a political fundraiser with a focus on public safety and business development.

Follow DDN statehouse reporter Avery Kreemer on X or reach out to him at Avery.Kreemer@coxinc.com or at 614-981-1422.

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