The 2016 political landscape looks vastly different for incumbent members of The Ohio House of Representatives. In 2014, the national political landscape combined with a weak Democrat at the top of the ticket provided Ohio Republicans with historic landslide victories. These margins will not be as wide as the electorate typically expands in a presidential election year. In his first year at the helm of the House GOP caucus, Speaker Cliff Rosenberger sits with a 65 member majority over the 34 seats controlled by Minority Leader Fred Strahorn and the House Democratic Caucus.
The following house districts are targeted as competitive in the ’16 General election.
HD 5- Rep. Tim Ginther (R-Salem) upset Nick Barborak (D-Lisbon) by a margin of 20 points last cycle. In 2012, Barborak upset a sitting Republican by a few hundred votes. Look for this race to be competitive if Barborak or a comparable candidate emerges for the Democrats.
HD 28- Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) is running for his second term in a district that leans slightly Republican. The seat was previously held by Rep. Connie Pillich (D-Montgomery) who challenged Josh Mandel for state treasurer last year.
HD 36- A Chamber Choice Candidate in both 2012 and 2014, Rep. Anthony Devitis (R-Akron) defeated Summit County Councilwoman Paula Prentice by a margin of 60-40%. Devitis will be up for his third term in a district that trends slightly Democrat.
HD 43-Rep. Jeff Rezabek (R-Clayton) defeated Roland Winburn (D-Dayton) by four points last cycle. The district, trending slightly Democrat, will see a large change in the electorate in a presidential cycle.
HD 55- Rep. Nathan Manning (R-North Ridgeville) was one of 5 Republicans that helped increase the House Republican majority to 65 by winning the seat previously held by Rep. Matt Lundy (D-Elyria). Manning faces a larger, Democrat heavy electorate as Lorain County voters head to the polls in 2016.
HD 60-With a partisan index reading plus one Democrat, the 60th House District is quite competitive on paper. With that being said, Rep. John Rogers (D-Mentor-on-the-Lake) previously won the seat by 11 points in 2012 and by eight in 2014. He will campaign for a third term this cycle.
HD 64-Rep. Michael O’Brien (D-Warren) won his first term in 2014 by 49-45%, with a Green Party candidate taking six percent of the vote. A similarly competitive race would only be likely this time around if a third party candidate can build momentum again.
HD 79-Small business owner Rep. Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) will run for his second term in 2016. Another Chamber Choice Candidate in 2012, Koehler defeated former Deputy Sheriff Darrell Jackson by a margin of 61-39% in one of the most competitive districts in Ohio.
HD 89-With Steve Kraus’ felony theft conviction earlier this week, the door is open for House Democrats to take back the seat that was occupied by former Ohio Democratic Party Chairman, Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) . Redfern is contemplating a return to the legislature while House Republicans will fill the vacancy via appointment following the summer recess.
Click here to see my previous post on the Ohio Senate incumbent seats up in 2016. If you have any further questions you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or on twitter @probizpolitics.