Three U.S. House incumbents in Ohio are facing primary challengers this year—a decade-low

Welcome to the Monday, March 18, Brew. 

By: Briana Ryan

Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. Three U.S. House incumbents in Ohio are facing primary challengers this year—a decade-low
  2. Candidates filing deadlines scheduled for the next two weeks
  3. Biden has successfully appointed 181 federal judges through March 1 of his fourth year

Three U.S. House incumbents in Ohio are facing primary challengers this year—a decade-low

Illinois and Ohio are holding primaries for congressional and state offices tomorrow. On Friday, we looked at upcoming elections in Illinois. Today, let’s look at what voters in the Buckeye State can expect to see on their ballots, including the 70 candidates running for Ohio’s 15 U.S. House districts.

U.S. Senate

Ballotpedia identified the U.S. Senate Republican primary as a battleground primary. Matt Dolan (R), Frank LaRose (R), and Bernie Moreno (R) are running in the Republican primary. The Democratic primary is uncontested, meaning Incumbent Sherrod Brown (D), first elected in 2006, will face the winner of the GOP primary in November. 

U.S. House

  • Seventy candidates, including 28 Democrats and 42 Republicans, are running for Ohio’s 15 U.S. House districts. That’s an average of 4.7 candidates per district, the most since 2018. 
  • In 2022, the first election after the number of congressional districts in Ohio decreased from 16 to 15 following the 2020 census, an average of 4.5 candidates ran. In 2020, when the state still had 16 Congressional districts, an average of 4.2 candidates ran. In 2018, the average was 5.1.
  • The 70 candidates running this year are also the most since 82 ran in 2018.
  • Two districts—the 2nd and the 6th—are open, meaning no incumbent is running. That’s more than in 2022, when only one district was open, and in 2020 when none were open.
  • Rep. Bill Johnson (R), who represented the 6th District, resigned on Jan. 21 to become president of Youngstown State University. A special election to fill the vacancy is set for June 11.
  • Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R), the incumbent in the 2nd District, announced he would not seek re-election. Eleven candidates—one Democrat and 10 Republicans—are running to replace Wenstrup, the most candidates to run for an Ohio congressional district this year.
  • Fourteen primaries—six Democratic and eight Republican—are contested. That’s the fewest contested primaries since 2016, when 10 were contested. Between 2014 and 2022, an average of 17 primaries were contested. 
  • Three incumbents are facing primary challengers, a decade-low. The three incumbents—Reps. Bob Latta (5th), Warren Davidson (8th), and David Joyce (14th)—are all Republicans.
  • Democratic and Republican candidates are running in all districts, meaning none are guaranteed to either party.

Ballotpedia is covering the Republican primary in the 9th District as a battleground primary:

Ohio’s 9th Congressional District (Republican Primary): Three candidates are running, Steve Lankenau (R), Derek Merrin (R), and Craig Riedel (R). As of March 12, Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales and Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rated the general election Lean Democratic. The Cook Political Report with Amy Walter rated the general election a toss-up.

State Legislature

All 99 seats in the state House and 16 out of the 33 seats in the state Senate are up for election this year. Ohio has had a Republican trifecta since 2011. Republicans currently have a 66-32 majority with one vacancy in the House and a 26-7 majority in the Senate.

  • A total of 285 major party candidates are running — 138 Democrats and 147 Republicans.
  • Twenty-nine of the seats up for election are open. This guarantees that newcomers will make up at least 25% of the General Assembly next year.
  • Fifty-one state legislative primaries are contested this year—19 Democratic and 32 Republican. That’s a 9% increase from 2022.
  • Heading into the March 18 primary, 25 incumbents—four Democrats and 21 Republicans—face primary challenges, representing 29% of all incumbents running for re-election.

Ballotpedia is covering the Republican primaries for Ohio’s House of Representatives as battleground primaries:

  • The 2024 Ohio House elections have 29 contested Republican primaries, the most since 2018. Nineteen incumbents—more than one-third of those seeking re-election—face primary challengers compared to 12 in 2018. This is the highest rate at which incumbent Ohio House Republicans have faced primary challenges since at least 2012.

Statewide Courts

Ohio voters will also decide primaries for three seats on the Ohio Supreme Court and 24 seats on the Ohio Intermediate Appellate Court.

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Candidate filing deadlines scheduled for the next two weeks 

With so many 2024 primary contests taking place, it is a great time to take a look at important upcoming filing deadlines that candidates need to be aware of to run in their state’s primary election. 

Candidates must meet a variety of state-specific filing requirements and deadlines to get on the ballot. These regulations, known as ballot access laws, determine whether and how candidates appear on the ballot. These laws are set at the state level and apply to candidates running for state and federal offices.

Two states have candidate filing deadlines today and tomorrow

  • Ohio: March 18 (unaffiliated statewide candidate filing deadline).
  • Colorado: March 19 (statewide candidate filing deadline).

Seven states have upcoming candidate filing deadlines in the next two weeks. The map and bulleted list below shows which states have candidate filing deadlines scheduled between March 20 and April 2, 2024.

  • Arizona: April 1 (statewide filing deadline for all candidates, including unaffiliated).
  • Iowa: March 22 (statewide filing deadline for candidates for county offices).
  • Missouri: March 26 (statewide candidate filing deadline).
  • New Jersey: March 25 (statewide candidate filing deadline, including presidential).
  • South Carolina: April 1 (statewide candidate filing deadline).
  • South Dakota: March 26 (statewide candidate filing deadline, including presidential).
  • Wisconsin (Spring primary): March 29 (statewide filing deadline for write-in candidates).

Looking back

The seven states listed below had candidate filing deadlines in the past two weeks. 

  • District of Columbia: March 6 (statewide candidate filing deadline, including Republican presidential candidates).
  • Georgia: March 8 (statewide candidate filing deadline).
  • Idaho: March 15 (unaffiliated presidential candidate filing deadline).
  • Oregon: March 12 (statewide candidate filing deadline, including presidential candidates).
  • Maine: March 15 (statewide candidate filing deadline).
  • Montana: March 11 (statewide candidate filing deadline, including presidential candidates).
  • Nebraska: March 14 (presidential candidate filing deadline).

Looking ahead

Due to the number of filing deadlines for Fall primaries, March is one of the busiest months for candidates. Our team is busy processing these lists and getting the thousands of names up on Ballotpedia. We’ll bring you all the information you need to know to run in all of these contests, so stay tuned!

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Biden has appointed 181 federal judges through March 1 of his fourth year

President Joe Biden (D) has appointed and the Senate has confirmed 181 Article III federal judges through March 1, 2024, his fourth year in office. This is the third-most Article III judicial appointments through this point for all presidents since President Ronald Reagan (R).

  • Presidents have appointed an average of 161 judges through March 1 of their fourth year in office. President Donald Trump (R) had the most appointees confirmed at this point with 193. Reagan had the fewest confirmations with 124.
  • The median number of Supreme Court justices appointed is two. Two presidents (Reagan and Biden) made one appointment. Four presidents—George H.W. Bush (R), Bill Clinton (D), Barack Obama (D), and Trump—made two. President George W. Bush (R) did not appoint any SCOTUS justices by this point in his presidency.
  • The median number of United States Court of Appeals appointees is 30. Trump had the most appointees with 51. Reagan appointed the fewest with 24. Biden appointed 40.
  • The median number of United States District Court appointees is 138. Clinton had the most appointees with 152. Reagan appointed the fewest with 97. Biden appointed 138.

Article III federal judges are appointed for life terms by the president of the United States and confirmed by the U.S. Senate per Article III of the United States Constitution. Article III judges include judges on the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. courts of appeal, U.S. district courts, and the Court of International Trade.

Click here to view an overview of the number of judges each president has appointed, a historical comparison of presidential judgeship appointments from 1933 to 2024, and a comparison of appointments over time by president and court type from 1945 to 2024. 

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