The Ohio Senate may see veteran Republican politicians replace two of its most powerful members in November.
State Rep. Bob Hackett (R-London) will face off against newcomer Matthew Kirk (D-Yellow Springs) in November for the seat previously held by State Sen. Chris Widener in the Ohio Senate’s 10th District. Widener served as the Senate President Pro Tempore, the chamber’s second-most powerful position.
Widener served two Senate terms and is not allowed to run again due to term limits. The 10th District includes Greene, Clark and Madison counties.
Hackett was recently appointed to fill the vacant seat in Ohio’s 10th Senate District after Widener stepped down in January.
With about 96 percent of the vote counted as the News-Sun went to press, Hackett beat Brian Walton of Beavercreek to claim to the Republican nomination, earning about 58 percent of the vote.
“We couldn’t be more pleased,” Hackett said. “We worked our plan. I have a record of really serving my constituents. That’s what I plan to do as a State senator with the same three counties, but now everybody in the three counties.”
As a former businessman, Hackett worked to cut taxes and balance the budget as a state representative, he said.
“We’ve worked hard to make cuts and get people to live within their means,” Hackett said. “We did a tremendous job of creating more jobs. That’s our No. 1 objective.”
Kirk beat Michael Gilbert of Springfield to claim the Democratic nomination in the 10th District with about 67 percent of the vote. He could not be reached for comment on Tuesday evening.
Former State Representative Matt Huffman of Lima beat another former state representative, John Adams of Sidney, to claim the 12th district Ohio Senate seat, currently held by Keith Faber (R-Celina), the Senate president who is term-limited.
Since no Democrat was certified for the ballot, Huffman will take office in 2017. The 12th District serves all or part of seven counties, including Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Darke, Logan, Mercer and Shelby.
Huffman previously represented Ohio’s 4th District in the House. Huffman, an attorney, served as the second-ranking House leader before his term expired in December of 2014.
Huffman was pleased with the victory and praised the hundreds of volunteers across the seven-county region who worked on his campaign.
“In order to have a result like this, it’s not just two or three people working on it or political consultants,” Huffman said. “It has to be people on the ground. Fortunately, we were able to have people doing that for us. It was great.”
After two years away from office, Huffman will go back to the statehouse in January – this time as a freshman senator.
“I’m kind of looking forward to that,” he said. “I’ll be able to work on policy and not so much member management where I was before.”
In the 74th district, Bill Dean of Xenia was leading the four-person Republican primary. With about 96 percent of the vote tallied as the News-Sun went to press, Dean had about 38 percent of the vote, followed by Chris Wallace of Plain City (30 percent), Brendan Shea of London (19 percent) and Joe Russell of London (11 percent).
The winner will face Democratic candidate Barb Niemayer to fill the seat left by Hackett, who had served in the district since 2009 and is term-limited in the Ohio House. The district covers eastern Clark County, central and eastern Greene County and all of Madison County.