Stories about Ohio

Mike Carey wins Republican primary in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District special election

Mike Carey defeated 10 candidates to win the special Republican primary for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District on Aug. 3. As of 9:30 p.m. ET, Carey had received 37% of the vote, Bob Peterson was second with 15%, Ron Hood was third with 14%, and Jeff LaRe was fourth with 11%.

The special election will fill the vacancy left by Steve Stivers (R), who resigned in May to become the CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

Carey was chairman of the Ohio Coal Association and is a U.S. Army National Guard veteran. Former President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him. LaRe, who Stivers endorsed, is a state representative. Hood, a marketing consultant, had endorsements from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.). Peterson is a state senator. The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

The Make America Great Again Action Inc. PAC spent almost $350,000 supporting Carey. Stivers spent nearly $300,000 in remaining funds from his campaign account supporting LaRe, as well as an additional $60,740 on media supporting LaRe last week. The Protect Freedom PAC spent over $640,000 supporting Hood.

Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Republican. Stivers won the past six elections by an average margin of victory of 24 percentage points.

Voters to decide special Democratic primary in Ohio’s 11th Congressional District on Aug. 3

Thirteen candidates are running in the Aug. 3 special Democratic primary for Ohio’s 11th Congressional District. Former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) vacated the seat to become secretary of housing and urban development in President Joe Biden’s (D) administration.

The Hill‘s Julia Manchester wrote that the race “has become a proxy battle for the Democratic Party establishment and national progressives,” referring to endorsements for candidates Shontel Brown and Nina Turner. Brown is on the Cuyahoga County Council. Turner is a former state senator and worked on Bernie Sanders’ 2016 and 2020 presidential campaigns. 

Hillary Clinton, the Congressional Black Caucus PAC, and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) endorsed Brown. Sanders, the Congressional Progressive Caucus PAC, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) endorsed Turner. Ocasio-Cortez campaigned in Cleveland for Turner on July 24. Clyburn and Sanders are scheduled to campaign in the district for Brown and Turner, respectively, over the weekend.

Seth Richardson of Cleveland.com wrote that local endorsements don’t break down along the same dividing lines as national endorsements, citing in part Turner’s endorsements from local officials who supported Biden’s presidential primary campaign, including Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, and Brown’s share of endorsements from labor groups.

Both candidates say they have a record of delivering for the district and have the relationships needed to do so in the House. Brown emphasizes her relationship with Fudge and her support for the Biden administration. She said in a campaign ad, “For some, it’s about the limelight. For me, it’s about results.” Turner said at a debate that the district needs someone “who does have a vision, that understands being a partner does not mean being a puppet.”

Inside Elections rates the November general election Solid Democratic. 

Candidate filing deadline for school board positions in Ohio is Aug. 4

Candidates interested in running for their local school board in Ohio have until Aug. 4 to file, unless the district held a primary earlier in the year. The general election is scheduled for Nov. 2, and new board members will take office on Jan. 1, 2022.

Ballotpedia is covering elections in 20 Ohio school districts in 2021. Columbus City Schools’ filing deadline was Feb. 3. The remaining 19 districts are:

  • Berea City School District
  • Canal Winchester Local School District
  • Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Dublin City Schools
  • Euclid City School District
  • Gahanna-Jefferson City School District
  • Groveport-Madison Local School District
  • Hamilton Local School District
  • Hilliard City Schools
  • Maumee City School District
  • New Albany-Plain Local School District
  • Olentangy Local School District
  • Pickerington Local School District
  • South-Western City Schools
  • Sylvania City School District
  • Toledo Public Schools
  • Washington Local School District
  • Westerville City School District
  • Worthington Schools

These 19 school districts served a combined total of 220,070 students during the 2016-2017 school year. 

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Citizens For A Safer Cleveland submits additional signatures to place police-related initiative on November ballot

On July 7, Citizens for a Safer Cleveland submitted an additional 3,208 signatures to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections for verification after the committee was short 384 of the 6,270 valid signatures needed to qualify for the Cleveland ballot in November. 

On June 16, the committee announced that they had submitted about 13,000 signatures to the county board of elections. On June 25, the county board of elections announced that 5,886 of the submitted signatures were valid. The group had 15 additional days to collect enough valid signatures to make up the difference and qualify for the ballot.

The initiative would repeal and replace sections of the Cleveland City Charter concerning the organization and oversight of the Cleveland Police Department. It would grant the chief of police the authority to discipline police officers in any reasonably justifiable way, subject to subject to review by the Civilian Police Review Board and the Community Police Commission. The initiative would restructure the Office of Professional Standards to report to the Civilian Police Review Board rather than the executive head of the police department. The initiative would bar current or former police officers from serving as the administrator of the office and would require that the police chief (and the force at large) comply with any requests for information that the office makes within 30 days.

The initiative would also enact the following changes to the nine-member Civilian Police Review Board:

  • Require that two members of the board should be attorneys with experience defending victims of police brutality;
  • Transfer the power to remove board members from the executive head of the police department to the mayor;
  • Require that the board’s budget be equal to or greater than 1% of the budget allocated to the police department;
  • Grant the board the ability to initiate its own complaints against the police department;
  • Add a new requirement that the chief of police present “clear-and-convicting” evidence that the board’s disciplinary recommendations are erroneous if the chief does not want to comply with them; and
  • Add termination as the default disciplinary action for “bigoted content, slurs, or language.”

Lastly, the initiative would create the 13-member Community Police Commission. The duties of the Commission would include serving as the final authority over disciplinary actions of officers; interviewing and recommending candidates for police commander and inspector general; establishing and auditing police recruitment and training practices; and directing the investigations of the Civilian Police Review Board.

Ballotpedia is covering a selection of notable police-related ballot measures in 2021. In April, voters in Oak Park, Illinois, defeated a non-binding advisory question that advised the city to defund the police department. In May, voters in Austin, Texas approved a measure to establish the position of the Director of Police Oversight in the city charter. Voters in San Antonio, Texas, defeated a measure that would have repealed collective bargaining for police officers. Voters in Pittsburgh approved a measure to require police to knock on a door, announce their presence, and wait at least 15 seconds before entering a residence to execute a warrant. Allegheny County voters approved a measure to prohibit the solitary confinement of persons held in the Allegheny County Jail.

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Cleveland, Ohio, Community Police Commission and Police Oversight Initiative (November 2021)

Notable local police-related ballot measures (2021)

Preview: Upcoming special congressional elections

Image of several stickers with the words "I voted"

Three special elections for the U.S. House will take place within the next month: a runoff election for Texas’ 6th Congressional District on July 27 and primaries in Ohio’s 11th and 15th congressional districts on Aug. 3.

Texas’ 6th

The July 27 runoff in Texas features Republicans Jake Ellzey and Susan Wright. The two advanced from a 23-candidate special general election on May 1, where Wright received 19% of the vote to Ellzey’s 14%.

The previous incumbent, Ronald Wright (R), died from complications related to COVID-19 on Feb. 7. Susan Wright is his widow. She served as district director for state Reps. Bill Zedler (R) and David Cook (R). Ellzey is a state representative, first elected in 2020. In 2018, he ran against Ronald Wright in the 6th Congressional District Republican primary, losing in the primary runoff with 48% to Wright’s 52%. 

The Club for Growth has spent more than $500,000 supporting Wright and opposing Ellzey in the special election. Former President Donald Trump endorsed Wright. Ellzey’s supporters include former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and the Texas Farm Bureau AGFUND.

Ohio’s 11th

President Joe Biden (D) appointed former incumbent Marcia Fudge (D) secretary of housing and urban development, leaving this seat vacant. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Democratic. Of the 13 candidates in the Democratic primary, Shontel Brown and Nina Turner have led in fundraising, endorsements, and media attention.

Brown is a member of the Cuyahoga County Council and chairwoman of the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party. Hillary Clinton (D) endorsed her. Turner was a state senator and co-chaired Bernie Sanders’ (I) 2020 presidential primary campaign. Sanders endorsed Turner.

Ohio’s 15th

Former Rep. Steve Stivers (R) resigned in May to become CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Inside Elections rates the Nov. 2 general election Solid Republican. Eleven candidates are running in the Aug. 3 special Republican primary.

Stivers endorsed Jeff LaRe, a state representative since 2019. LaRe also has a background in law enforcement. Trump endorsed Mike Carey, who served in the Army National Guard. Bob Peterson is a state senator and former president of the Ohio Farm Bureau. The Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

Seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress so far. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held. 

Eleven candidates running in Republican special primary for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District

Eleven candidates are running in the Republican primary to represent Ohio’s 15th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives on August 3, 2021. The special general election, which will be held November 2, 2021, was called after Steve Stivers (R) resigned his seat in the House to become the President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, effective May 16, 2021. Mike Carey, Bob Peterson, and Jeff LaRe have led in endorsements and media attention.

Carey’s campaign has focused on his experience in the United States Army (where he served from 1989 to 1999), and his status as a self-described conservative outsider. President Donald Trump (R) endorsed him.

LaRe’s campaign has focused on his background in law enforcement and security services, as well as his experience serving in the Ohio House of Representatives, where he assumed office in 2019. As of the 2021 election, LaRe is the executive vice president of a security services company, the Whitestone Group, where he began working in 2000. Former Rep. Steve Stivers (R) endorsed LaRe.

Peterson’s campaign has focused on his farming background and experience serving in the Ohio state legislature, first in the House from 2011 to 2012, and then in the Senate where he assumed office in 2012 and served as the president pro tempore during the 133rd, 132nd, and the second half of the 131st General Assemblies. Peterson earned his B.S. in agriculture from Ohio State University, and his professional experience includes managing Peterson Family Farm. Ohio Right to Life PAC endorsed him.

Also running in the primary are John Adams, Eric M. Clark, Thad Cooperrider, Ruth Edmonds, Ron Hood, Tom Hwang, Stephanie Kunze, and Omar Tarazi.

The general election is rated Strong Republican by Inside Elections with Nathan L. Gonzales. The Republican nominee will face the winner of the Democratic primary between Greg Betts and Allison Russo in the general election.

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Massachusetts, Ohio end face-covering requirements

Two states ended statewide public mask requirements for vaccinated and unvaccinated people between May 29 and June 4.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) ended the statewide mask mandate on May 29, along with other COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and individuals. The state will still require masks in state offices open to the public, schools and childcare centers, on public transportation, and in health care settings. Baker recommended unvaccinated individuals continue wearing masks in public settings.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) ended most statewide COVID-19 restrictions including the statewide mask mandate on June 2. The state left mask requirements in place in nursing homes and residential care settings. DeWine recommended unvaccinated individuals continue wearing masks in public indoor settings.

Thirty-nine states issued statewide public mask requirements during the pandemic. Fifteen states had statewide mask orders as of June 3, including 13 of the 23 states with Democratic governors and two out of the 27 states with Republican governors. Of those 15 states, at least 13 exempted fully vaccinated people.

Of the 24 states that have fully ended statewide public mask requirements, 14 have Republican governors and ten have Democratic governors. Twenty-one states ended mask requirements through executive order, two (Kansas and Utah) ended mask requirements through legislative action, and one (Wisconsin) ended its mandate through court order.

Redistricting review: Ohio, Census Bureau reach settlement in lawsuit over release of redistricting data

Ohio: On May 25, Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (R) announced that the state had reached a settlement agreement with the Census Bureau in its lawsuit over the Census Bureau’s plan to deliver redistricting data to the states by September 30, 2021, instead of April 1, 2021, the deadline set forth in federal law. Under the terms of the settlement, the Census Bureau agreed to deliver redistricting data, in a legacy format, by August 16, 2021. The legacy format would present the data in raw form, without the data tables and other access tools the Census Bureau will ultimately prepare for the states. The Census Bureau also agreed to deliver biweekly updates (and, in August, weekly updates) on its progress. Yost said, “This administration tried to drag its feet and bog this down in court, but Ohio always had the law on its side and now the federal government has finally agreed. It’s time to cough up the data.” As of May 26, the Census Bureau had not commented publicly on the settlement.

The Census Bureau had previously indicated that redistricting data would be made available to states in a legacy format in mid-to-late August 2021, saying the following in a statement released on March 15, 2021: “In declarations recently filed in the case of Ohio v. Raimondo, the U.S. Census Bureau made clear that we can provide a legacy format summary redistricting data file to all states by mid-to-late August 2021. Because we recognize that most states lack the capacity or resources to tabulate the data from these summary files on their own, we reaffirm our commitment to providing all states tabulated data in our user-friendly system by Sept. 30, 2021.”

Illinois: State lawmakers in Illinois released their proposed maps on May 21 for the Illinois State Senate and the Illinois House of Representatives, becoming the second state (after Oklahoma) in the 2020 redistricting cycle to produce draft maps.

Upon announcing the release of the proposed maps, Sen. Omar Aquino (D) said, “Redistricting is about making sure all voices are heard, and that’s exactly what this map accomplishes. This is a fair map that reflects the great diversity of our state and ensures every person receives equal representation in the General Assembly.”

Rep. Tim Butler (R) criticized the proposed maps: “Tonight’s drop of partisan maps is yet another attempt to mislead voters in an effort to block fair elections. We continue our call upon Governor Pritzker to live up to his pledge to the people of Illinois and veto a map that was drawn by politicians like what we see here today.”

In Illinois, the General Assembly is responsible for both congressional and state legislative redistricting. Redistricting plans are subject to gubernatorial veto. Illinois is a Democratic trifecta, meaning that Democrats control the governorship and majorities in both chambers of the General Assembly.

Wisconsin: On May 14, the Supreme Court of Wisconsin denied a petition for a proposed rule by which the state supreme court would have assumed original jurisdiction over redistricting lawsuits. When a court assumes original jurisdiction, it has the “power to hear and decide a matter before any other court can review the manner.”

On June 3, 2020, Attorney Richard M. Esenberg, Brian McGrath, and Anthony F. LoCoco, on behalf of Scott Jensen and the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty, filed the petition for the proposed rule, saying that the state supreme court had, in Jensen v. Wisconsin Elections Board (2002), “noted that redistricting was primarily a state and not a federal responsibility … but nevertheless deferred to the federal courts because of the perceived procedural problem of a lack of rules for such a case in [the state supreme court.” The petitioners asked the court to adopt the proposed rule “to cure the perceived procedural problems it noted in Jensen.”

In an unsigned order denying the petition, the court said, “The court determined that, as drafted, the procedures proposed in this administrative rule petition are unlikely to materially aid this court’s consideration of an as yet undefined future redistricting challenge, and voted to deny the petition.” The court added, “Our decision in this rule matter should not be deemed predictive of this court’s response to a petition for review asking this court to review a lower court’s ruling on a redistricting challenge or a request that we assume original jurisdiction over a future redistricting case or controversy.”

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Candidate list for special election in Ohio’s 15th Congressional District certified on May 24

The Franklin County Board of Elections certified the candidates for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District special primary in a meeting on May 24. Candidates interested in running had until May 17 to file. The primary is scheduled for Aug. 3, and the general election is set for Nov. 2.

Fourteen candidates were certified to the ballot: two Democrats and 12 Republicans. The candidates are:

  1. Greg Betts (D)
  2. Allison Russo (D)
  3. John Adams (R)
  4. Mike Carey (R)
  5. Eric M. Clark (R)
  6. Thad Cooperridder (R)
  7. Ruth Edmonds (R)
  8. Ron Hood (R)
  9. Tom Hwang (R)
  10. Stephanie Kunze (R)
  11. Jeff LaRe (R)
  12. Bob Peterson (R)
  13. Brian Stewart (R)
  14. Omar Tarazi (R)

Write-in candidates have until May 28 to file declarations of intent with the county board.

The special election was called after Steve Stivers (R) left office to become the President and CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, effective May 16. Stivers served from 2011 to 2021.

After Stivers’ resignation, the partisan breakdown of the U.S. representatives from Ohio will be three Democrats, 11 Republicans, and two vacancies. The U.S. House will have 219 Democrats, 211 Republicans, and five vacancies. A majority in the chamber requires 218 seats. 

As of May 14, seven special elections have been called during the 117th Congress. From the 113th Congress to the 116th Congress, 50 special elections were held.

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Redistricting review: Sixth Circuit rules Ohio has standing to sue Census Bureau over delayed data

On May 18, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that Ohio has standing to sue Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo over the U.S. Census Bureau’s plan to release redistricting data to the states by September 30 instead of the April 1 deadline set forth in federal statutes.

The Sixth Circuit found that Ohio meets all three requirements for standing to bring a lawsuit: “First, Ohio suffered (and continues to suffer) an informational injury because the Secretary failed to deliver Ohio’s data as the Census Act requires. Second, the injury is traceable to the Secretary because Ohio’s informational injury is the direct result of the Secretary’s failure to produce the required data. And third, Ohio’s injury is redressable.” 

The panel unanimously sent the case back to the district court for further consideration. The three judges on the panel were Martha Daughtrey (a Bill Clinton (D) appointee), David McKeague (a George W. Bush (R) appointee), and Amul Thapar (a Donald Trump (R) appointee). 

The state filed its lawsuit (Ohio v. Coggins) against the Census Bureau in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio on Feb. 25. Ohio Solicitor General Benjamin Flowers said, “The unavailability of decennial census data irreparably harms the State: the Ohio Constitution requires the State to use decennial census data during redistricting if the data is available, and allows the use of alternative data sources only as a second-best option. By blocking the State from conducting redistricting using decennial census data, the Census Bureau’s decision prevents the State from conducting redistricting in the constitutionally preferred manner.” 

The state asked that the court “issue an injunction either prohibiting the defendants from delaying the release of Ohio’s redistricting data beyond March 31, or else requiring the defendants to provide the State with Ohio’s population data at the earliest date this Court deems equitable.”

Judge Thomas Rose, a George W. Bush (R) appointee, dismissed the lawsuit on March 24, 2021, writing, “The Court will therefore reject Ohio’s request for an order that pretends that the Census Bureau could provide census-based redistricting data by March 31. The Court cannot ‘order a party to jump higher, run faster, or lift more than she is physically capable.'” The next day, the state appealed Rose’s decision to the Sixth Circuit, which heard oral argument on May 12. 

A similar lawsuit is pending in Alabama.

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