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Ohio Politics Explained: What’s On Your November Ballot?

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Ohio Politics Explained: What’s On Your November Ballot?

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Ohio Politics Explained: What’s On Your November Ballot?
Ohio Politics Explained: What's On Your November Ballot?

Midterm elections are near, and Ohio voters will decide who they want in Congress, the governor's office, the Ohio Supreme Court, and whether foreign nationals should be allowed to vote in local elections.

It's a great newsletter, and we'll cover it this week in Ohio Policy Briefs.

Podcast from the Ohio office of the USA TODAY Network, where we bring you political news from the states. The host Anna Staver joins the whole team of State Correspondents this week: Jesse Balemert, Laura Bischoff and Haley Bemiller.

1) US Senate and House of Representatives

An at-large candidate in Ohio is vying for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Senator Rob Portman. JD Vance has received support from former President Donald Trump, but statistically he is still in a tight race with Rep. Democrat Tim Ryan.

Ohioans will also elect 15 representatives to the United States House of Representatives. Some of these contests are almost guaranteed to re-elect the incumbent, but some are tough.

In the Toledo area, Rep. Longtime incumbent Marcy Kaptur faces a tough re-election campaign against political newcomer JR Majewski.

In the Akron-Canton district, former Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes, a Democrat, is battling another Trump-backed Republican, Madison Gesciotto Gilbert. The newly drawn districts were also tied, with 51% of voters registered as Democrats and 47% as Republicans.

And in Cincinnati, Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in a contentious race against Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman.

2) Governor's race

The Republican governor, Mike DeWine, wants to sail for another four years. Most polls show him with a double-digit lead over his Democratic challenger, former Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley.

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Rejecting all offers to go head-to-head with his opponent, DeWine has hinged his re-election bid on Ohio's economic woes and recent successes, attracting major investments from Intel and Honda. Whaley focused on social issues, describing DeWine as extreme on abortion (he signed the state's "heartbeat" law) and gun reform.

3) National elections (for all but the governor)

Ohioans will elect three state Supreme Court justices this November, as well as the secretary of state, attorney general, auditor and treasurer. Here is a brief overview of each.

Better. This race will determine whether we have a Democratic or Republican majority in the field. This is important because these new justices will hear cases on a number of important issues, such as redistricting and whether the Ohio constitution protects abortion.

Secretary of State. There are three candidates in the runoff for this election: Republican incumbent Frank LaRose, Democrat Chelsea Clarke and independent Tore Maras. The winner will become chairman of the Ohio Elections Commission and oversee the 2024 presidential election, choose the language for voting on issues such as the legalization of recreational marijuana, and be the final judge to vote.

Attorney General. The Ohio Attorney General is an important job. This person decided to fight lawsuits challenging the legality of state laws, fight the federal government, and try people for various crimes.

Rep. Rep. Jeff Crossman, D-Parma, said the current attorney general, Republican Dave Yost, has used the office for political battles such as vaccination mandates, critical race theory and transgender student-athletes. Yost said he opposes the president's abuse of power.

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Examiner: Republican Auditor Keith Faber asked voters for four more years, while Democrat Taylor Sappington wanted them to make changes. This position is Chief State Investigator. It tracks government money to schools, institutions and even local governments to ensure it is spent wisely.

Treasurer: The Ohio State Treasurer is the one who ensures that our bills are paid on time, that our credit rating remains high and that our $28 billion investment continues to make a profit. It's a state government pipe that you don't notice until something breaks, but who's in the chair matters. Republican Robert Sprague wants voters to re-elect him, while Marion's Democratic Mayor Scott Scherzer is fighting to oust him.

4) Ohio House and Senate

Ohio has 17 seats in the state Senate and all 99 seats in the House are up for grabs this November. And, as with congressional contests, some are competitive and some are not.

Republicans have large majorities in both chambers and are likely to maintain their majority for the next few years.

What matters is who is in charge at Columbus. State legislatures decide everything from sales and income taxes to abortion, gun reform and public school funding.

5) Issue 1 and Issue 2

Ohioans will vote on two statewide ballot initiatives this November.

The first is about bail and what judges must consider when granting bail to a person accused of a crime. Question 1 asks voters whether they want to change Ohio's constitution and ask the court to consider public safety when setting bail.

Question 2 deals with voting rights and whether municipalities should be allowed to grant voting rights to non-citizens. State constitutional amendments prohibit local governments from allowing non-US residents to vote in local elections. (Federal law prohibits them from voting in state or federal elections.)

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Listen to Ohio Politics Explained on Spotify, Apple, Google Podcasts and TuneIn Radio. This episode is also available at the link in this article.

The USA TODAY network office in Ohio serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated newspapers in Ohio.

This article originally appeared in The Columbus Dispatch. Ohio Politics Explained. What's on your November ballot?

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