ELECTION 2024 – The General Assembly

The 2023 elections are over. On the whole, it was a good year. In August Ohioans defeated a state constitutional amendment proposed by the Republican General Assembly that would have made citizen-initiated amendments to our state constitution practically impossible.  In November Ohioans passed the Reproductive Freedom Amendment to our state constitution, the amendment which the August amendment was intended to block. Also in November, citizens across the state voted to put people on their local school boards who care about educating Ohio’s young rather than indoctrinating them with a false view of history and a malicious set of values. We accomplished quite a bit, didn’t we?  Well, maybe but maybe not.

Within a couple days of the November election, Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly were talking publicly about legislation expressly intended to negate the Reproductive Freedom Amendment just passed by Ohio voters. Some of the most extreme ideas, such as divesting Ohio courts of jurisdiction to enforce the amendment, appear unlikely to become law. What does appear likely is that our Republican-controlled state government will take actions to try to limit individual liberty to make health care decisions notwithstanding the Reproductive Freedom Amendment.

On education, it is worth remembering that, just a couple of years ago, Ohio voters put a Democratic majority on the state board of education. Our Republican controlled state government passed laws divesting the state board of most of its powers and placing state control of education into a new state department under the Governor. Our Republican controlled state government has already enacted laws placing ideological restrictions on what may be taught in Ohio’s public schools. It appears likely that state government will respond to the voters’ choice for rationality on local school boards by taking even more control of schools away from local school boards and moving that power to Republican-controlled bodies in Columbus.

So, what should we do?

Both Clermont County seats in the Ohio House of Representatives and the seat in the state senate representing Clermont County are up for election in 2024. All three seats are held by extreme right-wing Republicans who are expected to run for re-election. We must run candidates for all three of those General Assembly seats.

To what end, you ask; we know the Republicans will win all three. There are several worthwhile end goals.

Beyond the question of whether or not our candidates for the General Assembly will win, it is important to have candidates run. State legislators who expect to run for re-election unopposed know that they may do anything they like in the General Assembly without regard for their constituents.

No matter how many voters dislike what their legislator does in Columbus, voters literally have no choice when that legislator runs for re-election unopposed.  There is no minimum number of votes an unopposed candidate must receive to be elected.  So long as she or he votes for themself, they win. Knowing that they will face an opponent for re-election forces a legislator to give at least some consideration to how her or his actions in Columbus align with the needs and values of the people of Clermont County.

There is another positive effect from running candidates even if they do not win. There are 99 seats in the Ohio House, all of which are up for election in 2024. Despite the Republicans’ determined efforts to rig them, the election in some of those districts could easily go either way. Republicans running without opposition or without meaningful opposition in other districts do not need to spend money or use other resources, like volunteers, to be elected. Those resources can be focused against Democrats in the few districts which could go either way. Giving the looney Republicans in “safe” Republican districts real opposition increases the likelihood of putting rational Democrats in the General Assembly from the true “swing” districts.

It is not as certain as you may think that Republicans will keep all three seats.

In the 62nd District, covering Milford, the Clermont portion of Loveland, and Miami, Union, Goshen, and Stonelick Townships, we saw many more voters voting for the rational positions and rational local candidates in 2023. The incumbent state representative in 62 has spent most of her adult life drawing a taxpayer-funded salary in one or another public job. She is a protégé of the former speaker of the Ohio House who was convicted of racketeering and is not in a federal prison. Days after the November 7, 2023, election, she and other legislators signed a public letter declaring that they will use their public offices to try to defeat the will of Ohio voters in passing the Reproductive Freedom Amendment. She is vulnerable.

To run for a seat in the Ohio House or the Ohio Senate, you must be a registered voter in the district and must have lived in the district for a year prior to November 5, 2024.  The 62nd Ohio House District covers Milford, the Clermont portion of Loveland and Miami, Union, Goshen, and Stonelick townships.  The 63rd Ohio House District covers the rest of Clermont County and the western half of Brown County. The 14th Ohio Senate District covers Clermont, Brown, Adams, and Scioto Counties.

To be either a Democratic or Republican candidate for a General Assembly seat, you must run for the nomination for the seat in the March 19, 2024, primary election for that party. To appear on the primary ballot, you must file petitions by 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 20, 2023.  Your petition must be signed by at least 50 registered voters who live in the district and who are either registered Democrats or are not registered as members of any party. Petitions to run in any of these three districts must be filed with the Clermont County Board of Elections in Batavia, Ohio by the December 20 deadline.

Running for a General Assembly seat makes a major contribution to restoring democracy to Ohio and Clermont County.  Winning a General Assembly seat helps restore balance and rationality to our state government. The Clermont County Democratic Party is willing to help you file and run. However, we need you to step up for your county and your state.  The time is now!  Do something important for Ohio!

Be safe.