2016 General Assembly Candidates Stepping Forward

It’s still very early in the election cycle, but the 2016 political landscape is already taking shape. Who and who will not run for president is obviously the hot topic. That discussion includes Gov. John Kasich, who visited the early primary state of New Hampshire earlier this week. Also, Democrats are set on taking back the U.S. Senate next year and the road to a majority likely travels through Ohio. A Democratic primary between former Gov. Ted Strickland and Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld is still a real possibility, although Strickland has already secured the endorsement of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC). The winner will earn the right to challenge Sen. Rob Portman.

There have also been a few developments in down ticket races. A couple months ago, I wrote about the open seats in the House and Senate next year. There are 15 term-limited representatives and 7 term-limited senators. Additionally, Rep. Michael Stinziano is running for Columbus City Council this year. If he’s victorious, it will add another open seat to the House roster.

Candidates for open seats are typically the first to step forward. There can be an early mover advantage by getting in a race early because sometimes it can scare off potential competition.

Here are a few candidates that have declared their candidacy or expressed interest in running so far:

John Adams (SD 12 – Republican): Adams announced earlier this month that he is running to replace Senate President Keith Faber in his heavily Republican Senate district. He served four terms in the House and was term-limited in 2014.

Matt Huffman (SD 12 – Republican): Huffman was also term-limited from the House in 2014, where he served as Speaker Pro Tempore. He’s an attorney by trade and is likely to run against Adams in the primary, although he hasn’t made an announcement yet.

Matt Dolan (SD 24 – Republican): Dolan is a former state representative and candidate for Cuyahoga County executive. His family also owns the Cleveland Indians. He’s aiming to replace term-limited Sen. Tom Patton. A contested primary is a possibility, and the General may be one of the most competitive in the Senate.

Emily Hagan (HD 16 – Democrat): Hagan is a lawyer from Rocky River and the niece of former Cuyahoga County Commissioner (and candidate for governor) Tim Hagan. She’s looking to replace Rep. Nan Baker in a district that leans slightly Republican.

Dave Greenspan (HD 16 – Republican): A business executive and currently a county council member in Cuyahoga County, Greenspan is also looking to replace Rep. Nan Baker. It’s very possible he and Hagan will face-off in the General Election.

Tom Whiston (HD 87 – Republican): Whiston is a pharmacist and Morrow County Commissioner. He announced earlier this month that he is running to replace term-limited Rep. Jeff McClain. HD 87 is heavily Republican, so it’s likely the race will be decided in the primary.

If you know of any others, shoot me an email at cbailey@ohiochamber.com.

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