Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senate race, contested statehouse races on Tuesday’s primary ballot

A sign directs voters to their polling location inside a library in Columbus.
Daniel Konik
Statehouse News Bureau
A sign directs voters to their polling location inside a library in Columbus.

Ohio voters won’t play a role in deciding the presidential nominees this year, with President Biden and former president Donald Trump already having secured the major party nominations. But a U.S. Senate race and several hotly contested statehouse races will be decided Tuesday.

The Republican primary for U.S. Senate features former businessman and political novice Bernie Moreno, Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), and Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

Moreno has touted his endorsement by Trump, who appeared at an airport rally in Dayton Saturday. Moreno also traveled the state this weekend with Ohio’s junior senator J.D. Vance and Kari Lake, the Arizona governor candidate who’s a Trump fan favorite for her continued false claims about the 2020 election.

Dolan campaigned with Gov. Mike DeWine and former U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, veteran Ohio politicians representing the GOP establishment. Moreno and Dolan have traded the lead in recent polls.

LaRose had been considered the front runner by many when he entered the race but has fallen behind, as he’s run with far less money and without endorsements from high-profile figures.

Ohio State University Professor Emeritus Paul Beck said he’s looking forward to the outcome of this election.

“It will be really interesting to see how all of this shakes out and whether the Trump endorsement has the kind of power that it did just two years ago,” Beck said.

There’s one statewide primary on the Democratic side. Judge Lisa Forbes of Ohio’s Eight District Court of Appeals, is the Ohio Democratic Party’s endorsed candidate for an open seat on the Ohio Supreme Court. She’s facing Tenth District Judge Terri Jamison, who ran for a seat on the court in 2022 but lost.

All 99 House districts are on the ballot, and in many cases, the candidate who wins the primary will go on to win the November election. A third of the seats are held by Democrats, and that’s not expected to change significantly because of gerrymandering. There are 21 open seats with incumbents not returning, many because they are term-limited. In some cases, incumbent Republicans are facing contentious primaries.

The direction of the Ohio House could be determined by which candidates are chosen because some incumbents support Speaker Jason Stephens (R-Kitts Hill), while others suggest they’ll support Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima), who’s running unopposed for the House and is expected to challenge Stephens for the speakership next year. In the Senate, 16 of 33 seats are up.

David Niven, political science professor at the University of Cincinnati, said fractured relationships between majority Republicans in the legislature have led to a comparatively small number of bills being passed. But he said, depending on the outcome of this vote, that could change.

“If these primaries are resolved in a way that unites the Republican caucus. You are looking at a tremendously reinvigorated ability to push legislation all the way to the right with no breaks,” Niven said.

There are local issues to be decided too. Ohio has more school levies on the ballot than any other state in this election, with voters determining the fate of 92 school levies.

Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and stay open until 7:30 p.m. Voters are reminded to bring a valid photo ID. Those who requested ballots by mail can still return them to their local board of elections, but not to their polling place.

Contact Jo Ingles at
Related Content