The following primary contests are some of the most competitive races to watch as Ohioans head to the polls tomorrow. Follow me on Twitter all day tomorrow @probizpolitics for updates and results as the returns are made available.
HD 12-OCCPAC endorsed Rep. John Barnes faces a 2014 rematch in the Democratic nomination for his seat minus one. What was a three-way primary in 2014 is now a head to head contest between Rep. Barnes and Pepper Pike Councilwoman Jill Miller-Zimon. Barnes, a community fixture in East Cleveland, has received criticism in recent years for his willingness to work across party lines in Columbus. Zimon’s recent endorsement by the Cleveland Plain Dealer along with an aggressive campaign have made this a very close race. Miller-Zimon is also receiving support from the Ohio House Democratic Caucus.
HD 51-The race between Incumbent State Rep. Wes Retherford and his predecessor Courtney Combs has been deemed by the Cincinnati Enquirer to be Ohio’s nastiest primary. Initially pledging to drop out of the race following the loss of the Butler County GOP, Retherford went back on the commitment and has mounted a vigorous campaign to retain his seat, placing TV and radio buys in recent weeks. Both candidates for the seat hold 100% lifetime pro-business voting records with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
HD 82-OCCPAC endorsed candidate Rep. Tony Burkley faces political newcomer Craig Riedel in the Republican primary for the 82nd House District which encompasses Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert and portions of Auglaize County. It will be of note to see if anti-incumbency sentiment at the top of the ticket will have any lingering effect on General Assembly races tomorrow night. Especially in this seat. The Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee (OHROC) has been assisting Burkley’s campaign with television and radio advertising.
SD 22-Ohio Senate President Pro-Tempore Larry Obhof faces conservative activist Janet Porter in a classic establishment vs. outsider scenario. Like the Burkley race, the anti-incumbency winds at the top of the ticket make this race closer than it would be in other years. Sen. Obhof is the OCCPAC endorsed candidate in the race and has a 100% pro-business voting record during his time in the General Assembly. He is also widely rumored as the front-runner to replace outgoing Senate President Keith Faber as the leader of the Ohio Senate in the 132nd General Assembly.
SD24-The Republican primary for the 24th Senate District has become a Wild West shootout in recent weeks. Former State Rep. Matt Dolan recently added the Cleveland Plain Dealer endorsement. Dolan squares off with current State Reps. Nan Baker and Mike Dovilla. Dovilla has received endorsements from Buckeye Firearms and Ohio Right to Life while an outside group has spent six-figures supporting Baker on television. All three candidates have mounted expensive campaigns supporting their nomination. The race is still a toss-up and all three candidates have a realistic shot at coming away with the nomination tomorrow night.