As this is going out, it is Election Day for the first of Ohio’s two 2022 primary elections. A second primary to elect candidates in Clermont County for seats in the Ohio House of Representatives and the state party central committees will occur later in the year, probably early August. By tomorrow, we should know the identities of the parties’ candidates for the major statewide offices and the U.S. Congress.
The primary concluding today and the one to be held later in the year highlight the work Democrats still have to do in Clermont County and across Ohio. Despite the adoption of Ohio Constitution Article XIX in 2018 which was purportedly going to end gerrymandering of Congressional districts, Ohioans are today voting for candidates for Congress in districts that are heavily gerrymandered to favor Republicans.
Despite the adoption of Ohio Constitution Article XI in 2015 to end gerrymandering of Ohio General Assembly Districts, a federal court has already announced that the primary for General Assembly to be held later this year will elect candidates in districts drawn exclusively by the Republicans which have already been held to be illegal by the Ohio Supreme Court.
We successfully elected three Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court: Jennifer Brunner, Melody Stewart, and Michael Donnelly. These outstanding jurists were instrumental in declaring the Congressional and General Assembly districts created by Republicans to keep Republicans in office illegal. Yet, in 2022, we will still be electing members of Congress and of the General Assembly using those illegal Republican-drawn districts.
In Clermont County, this means we may return to the Ohio House a woman who has said publicly that other women who become pregnant by being raped have been given an “opportunity.” Statewide, it guarantees that we will have a majority in both Houses of the General Assembly who share that horrible view.
This is, of course, not just a Clermont County problem. Since 1990, Ohio has elected a Democrat as Governor only once: Ted Strickland in 2006. He lost his race for re-election in 2010. Likewise, since 1990, a Democrat has only been elected Ohio Secretary of State once: Jennifer Brunner in 1990. She served only one term in that office.
Most telling, even the Congressional and General Assembly district maps proposed by Democrats during this year’s redistricting litigation were projected to yield Republican majorities in both Houses of the General Assembly and to send more Republicans than Democrats to the U.S. Congress from Ohio.
We have an opportunity to start reversing the damage in 2022. All state executive offices are up for election in November, including the three that sit on the Redistricting Commission: Governor, Secretary of State, and State Auditor.
The people elected to those offices in November will draw the next set of General Assembly districts. The General Assembly, when it does its job, draws the Congressional districts. We also have an opportunity to elect two Ohio Supreme Court justices and give the Court a Democratic majority for the first time since the 1990s.
These facts should be in your mind as you vote in our two 2022 primary elections. However, voting, by itself, is not enough. As you cast your votes, please commit to do all you can to elect our Democratic candidates up and down the ballot in November.
Commit to knocking doors, dropping literature, making calls, talking to your friends and neighbors, and donating. These time-consuming tasks are essential to restoring democracy in Ohio and arresting Ohio’s slide to the bottom of states in almost every category.
We are not going to take back county government in 2022. However, Clermont County can play an important role in electing Democrats to office in Columbus which will, in turn, help us in Clermont County. We must do all we can in 2022 to make that happen.
Take care. Stay safe. Vote! Volunteer!