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Stories about Ohio

Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Paolo DeMaria retires

Paolo DeMaria retired as Ohio’s superintendent of public instruction on Sept. 24. DeMaria was first appointed to the position in May 2016 by the Ohio State Board of Education.

DeMaria announced on July 1 that he intended to retire, saying in a statement, “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve the State Board of Education, the Ohio Department of Education, the education community and school children and the people of Ohio since June 2016 as State Superintendent, and for 30 years in various agencies of state government.”

The Board of Education selected Stephanie K. Siddens to serve as the interim superintendent until they choose a permanent replacement. 

Siddens has worked at the Ohio Department of Education since 2006. At the time she was appointed as acting superintendent, she was the senior executive director of the Center for Student Supports. She previously served as senior executive director of the Center for Curriculum and Assessment and director of the Office of Early Learning and School Readiness.

The Ohio superintendent of public instruction is an appointed state executive position in the Ohio state government. The superintendent serves as the secretary to the Board of Education and also its executive and administrative officer. The superintendent is responsible for executing the educational policies, orders, and administrative functions of the board as well as directing the work of all employees who work in the department of education.

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Ohio Redistricting Commission approves new state legislative maps along party lines

The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new state legislative district maps by a 5-2 vote early in the morning on Sept. 16. The two Democratic members of the commission, state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D) and state Sen. Vernon Sykes (D), were the two dissenting votes. Since the map was approved along partisan lines, it will only last for four years, rather than ten, as outlined in the 2015 constitutional amendment creating the commission.

Senate President Matt Huffman (R), a member of the commission, estimated that the new maps would create 62 Republican seats and 37 Democratic seats in the House, and 23 Republican seats and 10 Democratic seats in the Senate. Cleveland.com reported that Democrats on the commission agreed with the Senate estimates, but said the new House map would create 65 Republican seats and 34 Democratic seats.

A statement from the commission explaining the manner by which districts were allocated said: “The Commission considered statewide state and federal partisan general election results during the last ten years. There were sixteen such contests. When considering the results of each of those elections, the Commission determined that Republican candidates won thirteen out of sixteen of those elections. […] Accordingly, the statewide proportion of districts whose voters favor each political party corresponds closely to the statewide preferences of the voters of Ohio.”

Following the enactment of the maps, Huffman released a statement saying: “These house and senate maps will be in place for the next four years, and represent an important first step towards approving the next map that will complete the decade. […] I’m convinced we could’ve reached a ten-year map. However, special interests pressured democrats to not support it, asking voters to extend the deadline to accomplish that.”

Leading up to the vote, Emilia Sykes disapproved of the maps as overly partisan, saying she would “call it offensive and plain wrong to move forward this map […] to put forth something that so arrogantly flies in the face of what people, our voters, asked us to do, not once, but twice.”

Commission members Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) expressed disapproval of the maps and said they expected court challenges to follow their vote. DeWine said: “Along with the secretary of state I will vote to send this matter forward but it will not be the end of it. We know that this matter will be in court. […] What I am sure in my heart is that this committee could have come up with a bill that was much more clearly constitutional.”

Click here to view images of the maps and read more about redistricting in Ohio following the 2020 census.

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U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) will not seek re-election in 2022

On Sept. 16, 2021, U.S. Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R) announced he would not seek re-election in 2022. Gonzalez, who represents Ohio’s 16th Congressional District, said his choice to not seek re-election was a result of the current political environment: “Politically the environment is so toxic, especially in our own party right now,” he said. “You can fight your butt off and win this thing, but are you really going to be happy? And the answer is, probably not.”

Gonzalez assumed office in 2019 after defeating Susan Moran Palmer (D) in the 2018 general election 57% to 43%. In the 2020 general election, he won re-election against challenger Aaron Godfrey (D) 63% to 37%. Gonzalez was one of 10 House members who voted to impeach former President Donald Trump (R) for incitement of insurrection on January 13, 2021.

As of September 2021, 22 members of Congress— five members of the U.S. Senate and 17 members of the U.S. House— have announced they will not seek re-election. Twelve members—five senators and seven representatives—have announced their retirement. All five retiring Senate members are Republicans, and of the retiring House members, four are Democrats and three are Republicans.

Ten U.S. House members are running for other offices. Four Republicans and three Democrats are seeking seats in the U.S. Senate, one Republican and one Democrat are running for governor, and one Republican is running for secretary of state. No U.S. Senate members are running for other offices.

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Redistricting Roundup: Ohio Redistricting Commission approves state legislative redistricting maps by party-line vote

Here’s a summary of the week’s noteworthy redistricting news from Iowa and Ohio, and authorities in seven states released draft congressional or legislative maps:

Ohio: The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved new state legislative district maps by a 5-2 party-line vote on Sept. 9. If the Commission files those maps with the secretary of state, they would be effective for four years since they passed without support from two commissioners from each party. 

This is the first state legislative redistricting conducted under Ohio’s Bipartisan Redistricting Commission Amendment that voters approved in 2015. The Commission consists of the governor, state auditor, secretary of state, and four members of the state legislature —two from each party. Maps drawn by the commission are valid for 10 years if at least two commissioners from each major political party vote for them. Should the maps be passed along strictly partisan lines, the maps are valid for two general elections of the state House of Representatives.

The deadline for the Commission to adopt final state legislative maps was Sept. 15. The Ohio Supreme Court has jurisdiction over all cases involving state legislative redistricting.

Iowa: The Iowa Supreme Court ruled on Sept. 14 that they were extending the deadline for state legislative redistricting to Dec. 1 due to delays in receiving data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The Court said because the process would not be complete by the state’s Sept. 15 constitutional deadline, it was exercising its responsibility and authority over redistricting. The Iowa Legislative Services Agency has said that the Iowa Temporary Redistricting Advisory Commission would release the first draft of proposed state legislative district maps on Sept. 16.

Nationwide: Redistricting commissions or state legislative committees in Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maryland, and Nebraska all released draft congressional or legislative maps.

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Bibb and Kelley advance from Cleveland mayoral primary 

Justin Bibb and Kevin Kelley advanced from Cleveland, Ohio’s mayoral primary Tuesday night. Bibb led with 27.1% and Kelley had 19.4% as of 11:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Dennis Kucinich was third with 16.5%. 

Mayor Frank Jackson (D) chose not to seek election to a fifth four-year term. November’s general election will be the first without a mayoral incumbent on the ballot in Cleveland in 20 years. 

Jackson endorsed Kelley in the primary. Kelley is president of the Cleveland City Council and has served on the council since 2005. Several unions are among his other endorsers. Bibb is a chief strategy officer with a technology firm. His endorsers include Our Revolution Ohio and The Cleveland Plain Dealer

Public safety and police oversight have been key issues in the race. Bibb supports and Kelley opposes the Community Police Commission and Police Oversight Initiative on the general election ballot. The initiative would, in part, create a Community Police Commission, which would serve as the final authority on whether certain disciplinary action against an officer is sufficient.

The nonpartisan general election is Nov. 2.



Sept. 14 mayoral primary in Cleveland is first in 20 years with no incumbent

The primary election for Cleveland, Ohio, is on Sept. 14. Candidates are competing to advance to the general election scheduled for Nov. 2. The filing deadline to run passed on June 16.

Candidates filed for mayor and the 17 wards of the city council. The general election will also include four seats on the Cleveland Municipal Court.

Seven candidates are running for the mayoral seat: Justin Bibb, Ross DiBello, Basheer Jones, Kevin Kelley, Dennis J. Kucinich, Zack Reed, and Sandra Williams. The race is nonpartisan, but all seven candidates identify as Democrats.

The incumbent, Frank Jackson, is not seeking re-election. Jackson was first elected in 2005 and is Cleveland’s longest-serving mayor to date. The 2021 election will mark the first mayoral election in Cleveland without an incumbent since 2001.

Cleveland is the second-largest city in Ohio and the 48th-largest city in the United States.

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Redistricting Roundup: Illinois legislature enacts revised district boundaries for state House, Senate

Today’s redistricting roundup includes news from Illinois and Ohio.

Illinois

The Illinois House and Senate approved new state legislative boundaries on Aug. 31 during a special session. The maps, which passed 73-43 in the state House, and 40-17 in the state Senate, revised legislative redistricting plans enacted in June. The maps the state approved in June were drawn to meet the Illinois Constitution’s June 30 deadline for approving a state legislative redistricting plan and were adopted before the U.S. Census Bureau released block-level data from the 2020 census on Aug. 12. Click here to view the new state House map and here to view the Senate map.

Two lawsuits that were filed in federal district court challenging the June legislative maps were consolidated on July 14. The minority leaders of the Illinois House and Senate and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund argued that those redistricting plans did not ensure that the districts had substantially equal populations because they used data from the American Community Survey (ACS) instead of the 2020 census. The trial in the consolidated lawsuit is scheduled to begin on Sept. 27. 

Legislators have not yet proposed a congressional redistricting plan in Illinois.

Ohio

The Ohio Redistricting Commission met on Aug. 31 and decided it would hold three additional public hearings before approving proposed maps, as opposed to a single public hearing required by law. The Commission’s meeting follows 10 public sessions held in various locations across the state from Aug. 23 to Aug. 27.

The Commission did not approve new state legislative districts by its initial Sept. 1 deadline, and the final deadline for the creation of new legislative boundaries is Sept 15. Rep. Bob Cupp (R), a co-chair of the commission, said the late release of census data was the cause of the Commission’s delay and estimated maps would be formally proposed in 10-12 days. The Ohio Redistricting Commission is made up of five Republicans—including Gov. Mike DeWine (R)—and two Democrats.

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Campaign finance update: Top fundraisers in Ohio

Campaign finance requirements govern the raising and spending of money for political campaigns. While not the only factor in an election’s outcome, successful fundraising can provide a candidate with advantages, such as the ability to boost name recognition and promote a message. In addition, fundraising can indicate enthusiasm for candidates and parties.

This article lists the top individual fundraisers in Ohio by their party affiliation as well as the top ten fundraisers overall. It is based on campaign finance reports that active Ohio candidate political action committees (candidate PACs) submitted to the Ohio Secretary of State. It includes activity between Jan. 1, 2021, and June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs represent individuals who have run for state or local office at any point, including past and present officeholders. This article does not include non-candidate PACs.

Top Ohio Fundraisers

The top fundraisers in Ohio elections are shown below. For the purpose of this article, fundraisers may include individuals who are on the ballot this election cycle as well as those not currently running for office but who have received contributions during this reporting period. Individuals are listed with the office that they held at the time of publication, if applicable.

In the Democratic party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

In the Republican party, the top fundraisers in the most recent semiannual reporting period were:

Fundraising Totals

Overall, the top Ohio Democratic candidate PACs raised $2.35 million in this period. The top Republican candidate PACs raised $4.83 million. Ohio candidate PACs in the Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021, filing period raised a total of $10.60 million. Combined, these Ohio candidates account for 68% of total fundraising.

Contributions to the top five Democratic candidates made up 85% of the total amount reported by their party’s campaigns. Contributions to the top five Republican fundraisers comprised 62% of the total amount reported by Republican campaigns.

The table below provides additional data from the campaign finance reports from the top ten fundraisers. For more information on fundraising and spending for Ohio races on the 2022 ballot, click here.

NameParty AffiliationRaised this periodSpent this period
Richard Michael DeWineRepublican Party$2,261,657$150,866
Nan WhaleyDemocratic Party$1,193,508$479,016
Jim RenacciRepublican Party$1,102,608$14,409
John CranleyDemocratic Party$998,075$204,252
Dave YostRepublican Party$790,556$29,983
Matt HuffmanRepublican Party$359,614$25,117
Frank LaRoseRepublican Party$317,181$148,671
Joe BlystoneRepublican Party$286,086$123,927
Keith FaberRepublican Party$254,010$22,795
Robert SpragueRepublican Party$230,184$36,187

Campaign Finance Reporting Periods

The reports filed with the Ohio Secretary of State cover Jan. 1, 2021, through June 30, 2021. Candidate PACs in Ohio must file semiannual financial reports of their fundraising and campaign spending. During election years, candidate PACs also file additional financial reports before primary and general elections.

The next semiannual campaign finance reporting deadline for Ohio legislators and candidates will include activity between July 1, 2021, and Dec. 31, 2021.

This article was published in partnership with Transparency USA. Click here to learn more about that partnership.



Three candidates file for Toledo City Council special election

Three candidates have filed to run in the Sep. 14 special election for District 6 on the Toledo City Council in Ohio. The filing deadline for the special election was Aug. 5.

Incumbent Theresa Morris, Kimberly Adkins, and James Nowak are running in the special election. Morris was appointed to the seat on April 20 to replace Chris Delaney. The winner of the special election will serve the remainder of Delaney’s term, which runs through 2023. The special election is nonpartisan, but Morris has been endorsed by the Lucas County Democratic Party. According to the Toledo Blade, Adkins and Nowak are Republicans.

Ballotpedia will also be covering the Toledo mayoral race and the six at-large city council seats that are on the ballot in 2021. The primary for those races will be held on Sep. 14, and the general election is scheduled for Nov. 2.

Toledo is the fourth-largest city in Ohio and the 66th-largest city in the U.S. by population. It had an estimated population of 272,779 in 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2021, Ballotpedia is covering municipal elections in 21 counties and 68 cities, including 40 mayoral elections.

Additional reading:

Toledo, Ohio

Mayoral election in Toledo, Ohio (2021)

United States municipal elections, 2021



Shontel Brown wins Democratic primary in Ohio’s 11th District special election

Shontel Brown won the special Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on Aug. 3. As of 11 p.m. ET, Brown had received 50% of the vote to Nina Turner’s 44%. Eleven other candidates split 6%.

Brown serves on the Cuyahoga County Council and chairs the county’s Democratic Party. She previously served on the Warrensville Heights City Council. Turner is a former state senator and worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. She also served on the Cleveland City Council and was chair of party engagement for the state Democratic Party. 

Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) were among Brown’s endorsers. Turner’s endorsers included Sanders, the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.). Labor groups split endorsements in the primary.

Satellite spending groups spent more than $3 million toward the special Democratic primary. Of that, $2 million came from Democratic Majority For Israel, which endorsed Brown.

Former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) vacated the seat to become secretary of housing and urban development in President Joe Biden’s administration. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Democratic