Wednesday, November 5, 2008

2008 Election Wrap-Up

The election is over, the confetti has been swept up and the ballots are mostly counted. This was one for the record books. As you are all aware, the United States has elected its first African-American President, Barack Obama, and the Democratic Party increased their majority in the US Congress. Results for some Ohio races are still unofficial as ballots continue to be counted. Below is a break-down of the US Congressional Races as well as the Ohio House and Senate.

Ohio House Races

At the state level, a huge shake-up occurred overnight. The Democratic Party took over the majority of the Ohio House of Representatives with an initial net gain of 7 seats. Seats that were Republican and switched to Democratic control:

District 19 – Marian Harris currently has a 12-vote lead over the Republican candidate, Brad Lewis.
District 18 – Matt Patten (51%) defeated Colleen Grady (49%)
District 20 – Nancy Garland (51%) defeated incumbent Jim McGregor (49%)
District 22 – John Carney (56%) defeated Michael Keenan (44%)
District 28 – Connie Pillich (54%) defeated Virgil Lovitt (46%)
District 42 – Mike Moran (56%) defeated incumbent Richard Nero (44%)
District 63 – Mark Schneider (54%) defeated incumbent Carol-Ann Schindel (46%)
District 85 – Ray Pryor (52%) defeated incumbent John Schlichter (48%)
District 92 – Debbie Phillips defeated Jill Thompson by 171 votes

Republicans picked up two Democratic seats - in District 16, Nan Baker defeated incumbent Jennifer Brady and Terry Boose defeated Terry Traster in District 58, formerly held by Matt Barrett (D).

Ohio Senate Races

Only half of the State Senate seats were up for re-election this term, the even numbered districts. Of those running, the incumbents were victorious in their pursuit to retain their seats. Districts that did see two new candidates resulted in the Republicans holding onto their highly indexed districts:

District 10 – State Representative Chris Widener (R) ran to replace Senator Austria (running for Congressional District 7) against County Commissioner Roger Tackett (D). Widener won handily with a 62% to 38% margin.
District 16 – State Representative Jim Hughes (R), a moderate candidate ran against new-comer Danielle Blue (D) to replace Senator Stivers (running for the 15th Congressional District). Hughes defeated Blue by a 58% to 42% margin.
District 20 – State Representative Jimmy Stewart, an atypical Republican in a heavily Democratic-indexed district, ran against Rick Shriver, Morgan County Commissioner, to replace retiring senator, Joy Padgett. Stewart won the position with a 55% to 40% margin and the Green Party candidate, Timothy Kettler, received 5.
District 22 – Bob Gibbs, Republican State Representative for the Ashland area, was running against James Riley (D) to obtain the Senate seat left vacant by term-limited Ron Amstutz. Representative Gibbs won his new seat by a considerable margin, 61% to 39%.
District 24 – Another State Representative, Tom Patton (R), ran against Gary Kucinich (D) for former Senator Bob Spada’s position. Senator Spada vacated his post due to term limits. Representative Patton defeated his opponent by a 69% to 31% margin.
District 26 – Karen Gillmor (R), the widow of respected, late Congressman Paul Gillmor handily assumes the post vacated by term-limited Senator Larry Mumper. Mrs. Gillmor won the seat by a 63% to 37% margin.

U.S. Congressional Races

One closely-watched race at the federal level was that of Congressional District 1 in Cincinnati. Steve Driehaus (D), a current state representative, took the seat from long-serving Congressman Steve Chabot (R). The race was one of the most tightly contested in the state with Driehaus accepting Chabot’s concession shortly after midnight. With all but 2 precincts reporting results, Driehaus won by 9,097 votes - 143,146 to 133,449 - or 52% to 48%.

Additionally, in southwest Ohio, incumbent, Jean Schmidt (R) held onto control of her District 2 Congressional seat by a margin of 143,287 (45%) to Wulsin’s 118,770 (37%). Independent candidate David Krikorian won 18%, or 56,633 of the votes.

North approximately 90 miles, State Senator Steve Austria (R) was vying for the seat of retiring Congressman David Hobson (R) of the Republican-leaning 7th Congressional District. Sharon Neuhardt (D) was closing in on her opponent up until the election. Austria won the seat with 58% of the vote.

Then in northeast Ohio, running to take over the post left vacant by the late Stephanie Tubbs-Jones was Marsha Fudge (D), hand-picked by the area Democratic leadership, and Thomas Pekarek (R). Fudge handily won this Democratic-leaning district (District 11) with 85% of the vote.

In central Ohio's 15th U.S. Congressional District, State Senator Steve Stivers (R) was running a very close race against Mary Jo Kilroy (D), who barely lost to incumbent Deborah Pryce in 2006. This race, according to all news outlets, for months was considered too close to call and could have gone to either candidate. After the dust finally settled late into the night, Steve Stivers prevailed with a 146,907 (48%) to 134,492 (44%) margin.

In another highly contested race, State Senators John Boccieri (D) and Kirk Schuring (R) were battling to obtain retiring Congressman Ralph Regula’s District 16 seat. This race, according to some, became one of the only truly negative campaigns in Ohio. In a political hot-bed area, State Senator and Air Force pilot John Boccieri won with 54% of the vote.

Incumbents in Ohio’s U.S. Congressional races who were safe this election day:

District 3 – Michael Turner (R) 60%
District 4 – Jim Jordan (R) 65%
District 5 – Bob Latta (R) 64%
District 6 – Charlie Wilson (D) 62%
District 8 – John Boehner (R) 69%
District 9 – Marcy Kaptur (D) 74%
District 10 – Dennis Kucinich (D) 57%
District 12 – Pat Tiberi (R) 59%
District 13 – Betty Sutton (D) 65%
District 14 – Steve LaTourette (R) 58%
District 17 – Tim Ryan (D) 78%
District 18 – Zach Space (D) 60%

AICUO would like to congratulate all those who were victorious and we look forward to working with you as the new year begins. Higher education will continue to be a go-to issue for many in the new General Assembly and we would like to offer our assistance to any who are interested in learning more about the benefit our institutions have on their respective districts.

- Dustin A. Holfinger