Early voting for the May 3, 2022, primary election starts today. Whether you do it by mail, early in-person in Batavia, or at your polling place on May 3; it is important that you pull a Democratic ballot and vote in the primary. Ohio Democrats face an important choice for our candidate for Governor. Your primary vote is important. Please cast it.
Ohio will elect a U.S. Senator in November for the seat being vacated by Republican Rob Portman. This is an opportunity to solidify a Democratic majority in the U.S. Senate. You will see three candidates for Senator on your Democratic ballot. The Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed Congressman Tim Ryan. I mean no disrespect to the other two candidates when I say that Congressman Ryan is the only Democrat with a realistic chance of winning this seat in November. This is a critical race. There are several Republicans running. The only issue in their primary is who worships Dear Leader trump the most. We need to elect Tim Ryan to stop the trumpization of Ohio and America.
The Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed Chelsea Clark for Secretary of State, Taylor Sappington for State Auditor, Jeff Crossman for Attorney General, and Scott Scherzer for State Treasurer. These are the only candidates you will see for these offices on your Democratic primary ballot. While these primary races are uncontested it is still important to vote for these candidates. Receiving a strong vote in the primary enhances these candidates’ credibility and will help them fundraise for November.
Why should you care who holds these offices? I want to focus on Secretary of State and State Auditor. Along with the Governor and the leaders of each party in the Ohio House and Senate, the holders of these offices serve on the Ohio Redistricting Commission.
That body will be drawing new Ohio House and Senate districts and, potentially, U.S. House districts for the 2026 election at the latest. Whichever party holds two out of these three offices of Governor, Secretary of State and Auditor holds a majority on the Commission. If we want to end Republican gerrymandering we must elect Democrats to these offices in November.
Our candidates for Secretary of State and State Auditor are, effectively, already determined: Chelsea Clark and Taylor Sappington. But we have a critical choice for our candidate for Governor. Two candidates will appear on your primary ballot: former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley and former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley. The Ohio Democratic Party has not made an endorsement in this race, nor will I. Both candidates had accomplishments during their terms as mayors. Both candidates are effective speakers and campaigners. I know both people. Both deeply believe in the values of our party. Both care about working Ohioans. I believe either Nan or John will be an excellent governor.
Whether you agree with my views on Nan Whaley and John Cranley or not, there can be no disagreement that we cannot allow Mike DeWine to be re-elected. While DeWine has three opponents in the Republican primary, it is almost certain that he will win their primary. However, his primary opposition shows that Republicans are not united behind him. Many voters on the right hate him for his handling of the Covid pandemic. The expectation is that a far-right third-party candidate will be on the November ballot and will take votes from DeWine. 2022 is our best opportunity in years to elect a Democratic governor.
I will not tell you who I think you should vote for between John Cranley and Nan Whaley. I am going to ask you to make that choice based on only one criterion: which candidate do you think has the better chance of beating DeWine in November. Even if you do not agree with everything a particular candidate says or has done, Ohio will be much better off with either Nan Whaley or John Cranley as governor than it will be if we have four more years of DeWine. And, we must have a Democratic governor on the Redistricting Commission.
There are three Ohio Supreme Court seats up for election in November. The recent litigation over our gerrymandered General Assembly and Congressional districts has shown how critical the State Supreme Court is. There will be one candidate for each seat on your primary ballot. The Ohio Democratic Party has endorsed all three. Ohio Supreme Court Justice Jennifer Brunner is running for Chief Justice. This is an open seat. Franklin County Court of Appeals Judge Terri Jamison will be our candidate against incumbent Republican Justice Pat Fischer. Hamilton County Court of Appeals Judge Marilyn Zayas will be our candidate against the Republican incumbent Pat DeWine (yes, Governor DeWine’s son). These primary elections are already effectively decided. However, it is still important to vote for our judicial candidates to run strong in the primary to get a strong start to their general election campaigns. Again, high vote totals in the primary will help these candidates fundraise and gain media attention for the general election.
This is our black hole. Two county offices are on the November ballot: one County Commissioner and County Auditor. There is no Democrat running in the primary for either office. Given the historic voting patterns in our County, this is understandable. However, it also means that we as a party are failing our duty to give Clermont County voters a choice.
Declarations of intent to be a write-in candidate for these offices must be filed with the Board of Elections in Batavia by 4:00 p.m. on August 29, 2022. I will not kid you: it is tough to win as a write-in candidate. However, it can be done. Perhaps more important than winning is giving Clermont County voters someone to vote for other than the Republican nominee. This gives voters a concrete, public way to register their objections to the one-party rule that has plagued our county for decades. Even if a Democratic write-in candidate does not win, the fact that she received a large number of votes tells people that we can be a viable option in Clermont County. That will help our candidates whose names are on the ballot in 2024 and beyond. I ask that people please step up to run as Democratic write-in candidates for Clermont County Commissioner and Clermont County Auditor this year.
Congress is very important, and the May 3 primary ballot will show candidates for United States House of Representatives. I have put Congress towards the bottom of this list because we do not know whether the primary for Congress will mean anything. As of this writing, all of Clermont County is in the Second Congressional district. I say “as of this writing” because the Ohio Supreme Court has not yet ruled on the most recent gerrymandered map of Congressional districts adopted by the Republican majority on the Redistricting Commission. Whether the Court will rule the current Republican map unconstitutional and what will happen if it does remain to be seen.
There will be two candidates for Congress on your primary ballot: Alan Darnowsky and Samantha Harper. Many of you know Alan. Alan ran for the Ohio House against Jean Schmidt two years ago. Alan has been active in the CCDP and our club Democracy in Action. I know Alan well and I am voting for him.
General Assembly and State Party Central Committees
Candidates for Ohio House and Democratic state central committee will not be on the May 3 primary ballot. The Ohio Supreme Court has ruled the most recent Republican gerrymandered districts illegal, and the federal court has not yet negated that ruling as Republicans hoped. Presumably, there will be another primary election for these offices later this year, although nothing is certain in Ohio in 2022. When will that primary election be held? No one knows. Will anyone come out and vote in it? That remains to be seen.
Stay safe and vote in the primaries.