The November 2021 general election is here. Early voting starts in two weeks, on October 5, 2021. We have candidates in contested races in Union Township, the Milford school district, and the Village of Moscow. If you live in any of those jurisdictions, you must vote, and vote wisely. Also, the Republican plan for re-districting the Ohio House and Senate has been revealed. This raises the stakes in the 2022 election.
November 2021 Candidates
Chad Quick, a minister and former United States Marine, is running for Union Township Trustee in a five-way race for two seats. The other four candidates are Republicans. There are two incumbents plus failed state house candidate Joe Dills and failed county commission candidate John Becker. Chad has a genuine chance to win because the Republican vote is likely to split. The two candidates with the highest vote totals win, and Union Township voters can vote for two candidates. You should only vote for one: Chad Quick. Please don’t give a vote to any of the Republicans running against him. Consider donating to Chad’s campaign at electchadquick.com
Jara Bonner and Emily Mason are running in an eight-candidate race for three seats on the Milford School Board. Along with the recurring issue of funding improved school buildings, far right bogeymen such as critical race theory, “wokeness,” and mask mandates are infecting this race. One candidate says he wants Milford children to be taught “American Exceptionalism.” Educating our children is too important to fall under right wing lunatic control. Milford voters can vote for three school board candidates. You should only vote for two: Jara Bonner and Emily Mason. Consider donating to Emily at electemilymason.com and Jara at jaraformilford.com
Cheryl Richards (who produces this newsletter) is one of six people running for four seats on the Moscow Village Council. Moscow has relatively few registered voters, so a handful of votes will likely make the difference. Again, if you are a Moscow voter, don’t cast four votes, three of which will go to Cheryl’s opponents. Only cast one vote for Cheryl Richards.
A 2021 Ballot Issue
There is an interesting issue on the ballot this November. Voters in Owensville will vote on whether to dissolve their village, called a “surrender of corporate powers.” Dissolving villages has become a right-wing agenda item in the county in recent years. Voters in Amelia and Newtonsville have dissolved their villages. Proponents argue that dissolution removes a layer of government and reduces taxes. As residents of the place formerly the Village of Amelia have learned, it isn’t that simple.
Dissolving a village does not mean that the village’s debts and other contractual obligations disappear. Those debts still must be paid off, and village taxes continue until they are. Dissolution means that the territory of the former village becomes part of the surrounding township. In Amelia’s case, this meant that part of what had been Amelia joined Batavia Township and part joined Pierce Township. That has raised issues like reconciling the different zoning which had been in effect in Amelia with the zoning which is in effect in the two townships. Former Amelia residents are now subject to Batavia Township or Pierce Township taxes. Owensville voters should do their own research to learn the consequences of dissolving the village. As Amelia showed, campaign rhetoric on this issue can be misleading.
Municipal Court Clerk
Despite our efforts, no Democrat is running for Clerk of the Clermont County Municipal Court, one of the highest paying government jobs in the County. Every election, I get calls and e-mail from Democratic voters asking why there are so many offices for which the Republicans are running unopposed. While there are more than 100 offices on the ballot across the county this year, fewer than ten Democrats are running. We can’t elect Democrats if Democrats don’t run. We can’t force people to run for office. People must make that decision themselves. So far, only a few admirable Democrats have. Until that changes, nothing else will change.
Of the three Republicans running for Municipal Court Clerk, one is the incumbent, former Clermont County Republican Chair Tim Rudd. To say Mr. Rudd has not performed well in office is an understatement. He needs to be voted out. The Party is not taking any position in this race. My personal choice is Ralph Vilardo, Jr. I have talked with Mr. Vilardo. A big point in his favor is that he says the office of Municipal Court Clerk should be abolished, that Clermont County only needs one elected Clerk of Court, not the two we currently have. He’s right.
Ohio is drawing new legislative districts that will take effect for the 2022 election. The General Assembly districts are being drawn by a commission consisting of the Governor, Secretary of State, State Auditor, and members from each party in the Ohio Senate and House. That means five Republicans and two Democrats.
The new General Assembly districts proposed by this Republican-dominated commission will, based on past voting, continue the Republican super-majority in both chambers. Despite intense criticism from most people who have spoken at the public hearings on this plan, Republicans justify this plan as “fair.” They argue that Republicans have already won super-majority control of the General Assembly, have won all state executive offices, hold a majority on the Ohio Supreme Court, and their presidential candidate carried Ohio in 2016 and 2020. That past success, they argue, means Republicans have “earned” an entitlement to perpetuate their super-majority. While there is widespread opposition to the Republican re-districting plan, Republicans have the power. Their plan, or something very close to it, will probably have been adopted by the time you read this.
Last week I heard a lawyer associated with ODP call the Republican plan “wildly” violative of our state constitution and in violation of the Federal Voting Rights Act. There will be litigation. Challenges to the Republican map will go directly to the Ohio Supreme Court. Republicans hold a four to three majority on the Ohio Supreme Court. Some people think outgoing Republican Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor will join the three Democrats on the Court in rejecting the Republican map. Republicans see holding onto their super-majority as an existential issue. It seems very unlikely that the Chief Justice will go against her party on an issue this important to Republicans. U.S. House re-districting follows a different process, and that Republican map is still to come.
Where does that leave us? I expect the Republican plan will only be in effect for four years under our state constitution because no Democrats will sign on to it. Districts will be drawn again in 2025 for the 2026 election. The path to end the Republican super-majority is to elect Democrats as Governor, Secretary of State, and State Auditor next year. That will give us a five to two majority on the 2025 re-districting commission.
We simply must win next year. However, Republicans are changing the rules for the 2022 election. More about that next time.
Take care and stay safe.