2020 Primary Election Report

The 2020 primary election season will go down in history as a unique one with a big asterisk next to it, and likely analyzed and referenced for decades to come. With the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and ensuing shelter-in-place lockdowns, we have seen 15 state primary elections postponed (so far). Ohio is one of the few that extended its primary election with the caveat of vote-by-mail ballots only. Results are still coming in after yesterday’s primary election deadline, with potentially a chunk of ballots still in the mail to be processed and counted if received by May 8. But with a large early voting window leading up to the original March 17 primary election date, and a push for mail-in ballot applications after the last-minute, month-long extension, we have a good picture of the results and the numbers don’t look great as far as turnout.

Unofficial turnout for the 2020 Ohio primary election was about 1,547,617*, or 19.9%, which is low. In fact, that is the lowest turnout percentage in an Ohio presidential primary election in at least the last 36 years (SOS website data doesn’t go back further). By comparison, the 2008 double-contested presidential primaries saw a 46% turnout with 3.6 million votes, the 2012 primary with President Obama running as an unopposed incumbent saw a 25.5% turnout with 2 million votes, and 2016 had a 43.6% turnout with 3.3 million votes. 2012 previously held the lowest turnout in an Ohio presidential election since at least 1986. Since the two-step absentee ballot voting system lets you see some public numbers early, we knew going into yesterday that only 1.9 million ballots were requested in Ohio. It will be an interesting data point to see the final tally of those requested ballots that went unsubmitted in this election.

Granted, it is possible that a mail delay will see an influx of additional ballots counted to pump the 2020 turnout number up, but not likely by much.

OCCPAC Endorsed Candidates go 10-2 in General Assembly Races

Ohio Chamber of Commerce PAC (OCCPAC) endorsed General Assembly candidates were successful in all but two races. Republican candidate Shayne Thomas, Seneca County Commissioner and former corporate banker, fell short against pastor Gary Click in a three-way primary for House District 88. Encompassing Seneca and Sandusky Counties in northern Ohio, the seat is vacated by term-limited Rep. Bill Reineke who moved on to secure the GOP nomination for the Senate District 26 seat. Mark Welch, small businessman and West Chester Township Trustee, lost the open seat GOP primary for the House District 52 seat to nurse practitioner Jennifer Gross. HD 52 was vacated by Rep. George Lang who secured the GOP nomination for the Senate District 4 seat heading into November.

To read the full results, click here.

*Estimated 14,000 ballots submitted to Wayne County still pending posted results as of 4:00am on 4/29