Five big things to watch in Ohio on election night

As election results come in Tuesday night, Ohioans have plenty of important things to watch for. Here are six on which Ohio voters will have the greatest impact – both nationally and for their hometowns.

U.S. Senate

The race between Democratic U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland Twp. and Republican businessman J.D. Vance of Cincinnati is among a handful of contests, along with Arizona, Georgia and Pennsylvania, that will determine which party controls the Senate.

Democrats hold both the House and Senate, but narrowly; and the party in power traditionally loses seats in midterm elections. The Senate is split 50-50, with Democrats in control only because Vice President Kamala Harris casts the tie-breaking vote.

At a Nov. 1 town hall sponsored by FOX News, Vance said states should decide on abortion limits but that he also supports a Republican proposal to ban abortion nationwide at a minimum of 15 weeks, with exceptions for rape, incest and the health of the mother.

Ryan called to federally codify abortion rights until the beginning of the third trimester and after that to save the life or health of the mother.

Vance, who is backed by former president Donald Trump, claimed the 2020 election was stolen from Trump, despite no evidence from multiple investigations, election audits and lawsuits.

ExploreMontgomery County elections board urges voters to click correct spot on touchscreen

Governor’s Race

For the first time both major-party candidates for governor are from the Dayton region instead of hailing from the major metros of Cincinnati, Columbus or Cleveland. Democratic candidate Nan Whaley is the immediate former mayor of Dayton, and incumbent Republican Gov. Mike DeWine is a resident of Cedarville.

DeWine said he’s named people from this region to high-level posts in his administration, and done things to improve circumstances for veterans, current military personnel and their families. Ohio’s largest military installation is Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

He said the Dayton area would see “more of the same” in a second four-year term.

Whaley said during campaign stops in small towns she saw more similarities to Dayton than to larger cities.

“Dayton is similar to many other parts of the state that feel forgotten and ignored,” she said.

Ohio Supreme Court

The three Ohio Supreme Court seats up for election this year could change the balance of the court as it prepares to deal with abortion laws, legislative redistricting and other major issues.

One of those seats is chief justice. Maureen O’Connor is ineligible to run again due to age limits, so her position is being sought by two current justices: Democrat Jennifer Brunner and Republican Sharon Kennedy. When a current justice wins the chief justiceship, the governor can appoint a replacement to fill the winner’s former seat.

The other two seats in contention are held by Justice Pat DeWine and Justice Pat Fischer. Both are seeking a second term, opposed by Democratic First District Court of Appeals Judge Marilyn Zayas and Tenth District Court of Appeals Judge Terri Jamison, respectively.

Justices serve six-year terms. All three seats currently available are now held by Republicans. One Republican-held seat and the three Democratic-held seats are not open this year.

For the first time, in this election the candidates’ party affiliation will appear next to their names on the ballot.

Statehouse Races

District maps for state House and Senate are only valid for this election cycle, per an Ohio Supreme Court ruling, and will have to be redrawn before the 2024 campaign. But the current set of maps, drawn in response to 2020 U.S. Census results, has already shifted district lines and in some cases the political balance.

For state representative, most of Clark County now is in the 74th District, an open seat that matches Democrat Daniel Saks against Republican Bernard Willis.

The far southern and eastern portion of Clark County is in the redrawn 71st District. That race features incumbent Republican Rep. Bill Dean challenged by James Duffee, a Democrat.

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Control of Congress

The map of U.S. House districts, like the state legislative maps, has to be redrawn before the 2024 election – and for the same reason: the Ohio Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutionally favors Republicans.

But also like the state legislative maps, the rejected U.S. House map is in force for this election cycle due to time constraints. And results from its districts, altered by census results from their decade-old configuration, may have nationwide impact.

To the north, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana faces Tamie Wilson of Delaware for the District 4 seat. Jordan, in Congress since 2007, has been mentioned as a possible majority leader if Republicans take control of the House.

Jordan voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s election and refused to testify before the Jan. 6 committee investigating the assault on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters.

Wilson is a first-time candidate, on the opposite side from Jordan in just about everything, said he’s done nothing for his district or Ohioans in general, just “scream his head off and defend Trump.”

Clark County is in two reconfigured districts. Springfield and the portion directly south of the city is now in the 10th District, which includes Greene County and Montgomery County. That race has incumbent Republican Mike Turner challenged by David Estrati, a Democrat.

One of the strangest districts in Ohio is the new 15th District, which stretches from south of Columbus all the way to portions of Shelby and Miami counties, getting there by a narrow strip in northern Clark County. The 15th features Republican incumbent Mike Carey against Democrat Gary Josephson. Both are from Columbus.

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