Incumbent Frank LaRose defeated John Adams in the May 3, 2022, Republican Party primary for Ohio Secretary of State. As of Wednesday morning, LaRose had received 66% of the vote to Adams’ 34%. LaRose will face Democratic primary winner Chelsea Clark (D) in the general election on Nov. 8.
LaRose was elected Ohio Secretary of State in 2018, defeating Kathleen Clyde (D) 51% to 47%. He is a U.S. Army veteran and worked as a business manager and project lead for a consulting firm. LaRose represented Ohio State Senate District 27 from 2011 to 2018. LaRose emphasized his experience in the Ohio Senate and as secretary of state, saying he “sponsored legislation to modernize online voter registration, audit election results to verify their accuracy, cut burdensome regulation on small business, and protect our freedoms and values.” LaRose received endorsements from former President Donald Trump (R) and at least 10 members of Congress, including Rep. Bill Johnson (R) and Sen. Rob Portman (R).
Adams is a U.S. Army and U.S. Navy veteran and founder of Francis Furniture Store. He represented Ohio House of Representatives District 85 from 2007 to 2014. Adams also ran for Ohio State Senate District 12 in 2016 but was defeated by Matt Huffman (R) in the Republican primary 64% to 36%. Adams said “there were shenanigans that went on” in the 2020 election and “there are questions that have not been resolved yet.” Adams said he “has had the life experience – as a Navy SEAL, as a small businessman, as a civic leader, as a husband and father – to successfully protect and advance our common values.” Ohio Value Voters, a 501(c)(4) organization whose “purpose has been to educate, inform, and influence voters and elected officials,” endorsed Adams.
Election security and allegations of voter fraud in the 2020 general election were key issues in the race. Adams criticized LaRose for moving the March 2020 Ohio primary elections from March to June and said he ran because “we had an election two years ago, and I woke up the next morning and I said, ‘You gotta be kidding me. There’s no way that Trump lost. No way.’” LaRose said the “mainstream media is trying to minimize voter fraud to suit their narrative” and “President Donald Trump is right to say that voter fraud is a serious problem.”
The secretary is the state’s chief election officer and keeper of the state seal. They license businesses and corporations and keep records of all official gubernatorial actions. A Republican has held the Ohio secretary of state office since 2010, when incumbent Jennifer L. Brunner (D) vacated the office and Jon Husted (R) defeated Maryellen O’Shaughnessy (D) 54% to 42%.