With the Ohio primary over a month behind us, here is a belated update on the state of play for races for the General Assembly and State Senate. Before moving into primary results, here are two pre-primary updates that I discussed in a previous comment but want to re-post here.
First, in District 5 the Republican candidate Craig Newbold decided not to run in a rematch against State Rep. Nick Barborak (D) and has been replaced on the ballot by a weaker candidate. This new candidate is a minister named Tim Ginter who was trounced in a run for State Senate in 2008. Although this development occurred before my diary on Ohio House Races, somehow I missed this story. As a result, I am moving this race from Toss Up to Leans Democrat. As a result, 38 seats are now Lean Democrat or better, with the only Democratic-held seat remaining as a Toss Up being the Open Seat in the 28th District near Cincinnati. (more on that seat later)
In the 3rd State Senate District (a 54.5% Obama seat!) held by Republican Kevin Bacon, Marco Miller -who appeared to be our stronger candidate- was disqualified from the ballot. According to the article from the Columbus Dispatch I link above, Miller said he could not afford to appeal this decision. I'm not sure why the State Democratic Party didn't get involved here, but with only a some dude(ette) candidate named Star Johnson left on the ballot, I am downgrading this race from Leans Republican to Safe Republican. Currently, Bacon leads Johnson in cash on hand by a huge $70.5k to $260. What a fail for the state Democratic Party!
My update continues after the fold.
For both the Ohio Senate and Ohio General Assembly, I will update rankings based on primary election results and provide a more detailed look at the races that I have previously identified as Toss Ups. (Fundraising data comes from the Secretary of State's office.)
State Senate Races Update:
No state Senate Republican was defeated in their primary. Thus the 27th district (LaRose) and the 29th District (Oelsalger) will remain in the Safe Republican column.
The two races I identified as Toss Ups in my Feburary diary diary remain Toss Ups now, but one of them is starting to tilt toward the Republican incumbent.
In the 5th district, Tipp City Council Member (and ex-Mayor) Dee Gillis won the primary over Dayton School Board Member Joe Lacey and Businessman Tom Matthew by a wide margin. Gillis is a strong candidate and is likely to give State Senator Bill Beagle (R-5) a tough fight this November in this 53% Obama seat. One concern for this district is the fundraising edge Beagle has--he currently has an edge of $60.8k to $15.8k in COH. Gillis has proved to be a reasonbly able fundraiser though, and is likely to catch up with Beagle to some degree now that the primary is behind her.
In District 13, Elyria City Councilman Marcus Madison was opposed in winning the nomination to take on State Senator Gayle Manning. (When I wrote my Senate diary back in February, I thought Madison would have a primary opponent.) Like the 5th district, this seat is a Toss Up and Madison should give Manning a strong challenge in this 55% Obama seat. However, fundraising is also a concern here as Manning has a COH advantage of $83.1k to $3.6k. I think this race should probably move to Toss Up/Tilts Republican as a result of Manning's staggering edge in campaign funds, but the partisan leanings of this district still give Madison a chance if his fundraising starts to improve soon.
One last note on these races: an additional advantage Gillis has that Madison does not is that Sen. Beagle voted for the unpopular anti-union SB5, while Gayle Manning voted no on that bill.
The entrance of Republican Councilmember Charlie Winburn into the 9th district Senate race has caused some to speculate that race might end up being competitive. I still have my doubts and as a result am leaving that race as Safe Democratic for now. The only two races I have in play are District 5 and District 13, which are both Toss Ups to at least some degree. Overall I am projecting a Democratic pickup of 1-2 seats.
General Assembly Races update:
In all four of the Toss Up races, Democrats currently enjoy cash on hand advantages of varying degrees.
I posted this in a recent comment, but to recap:
In OH 7, which features a rematch between State Rep Mike Dovilla and Dem Matt Patten. Dovilla won by 122 votes in 2012 in this Romney +3 seat, Patten has a narrow $18k to $17k COH advantage.
In OH 28, currently held by Dem Connie Pillich who is running for State Treasurer, Democrat Micah Kamrass has a $126k to $6k COH lead over Tea Party backed Jonathan Dever. I only have this as Toss Up because Romney won the seat by 4, but I really like our chances of holding the seat.
In OH 36, Dem County Council Member Paula Prentice has a $35k to $12k COH advantage over GOP State Rep Anthony DeVitis. This seat voted for President Obama by 4 points in 2012.
In OH 79, Dem former Sheriff's Deputy Darrell Jackson has a $21k to 10k COH advantage over Tea flavored Republican Kyle Koehler in this open seat that is currently Republican held. Once again Republicans went with the Tea Party backed candidate over an establishment candidate. Argeri Lagos, the establishment choice, was also a better fundraiser than Koehler. This seat voted Obama by 2 points in 2012.
Finally, a couple of ratings changes for Ohio seats. There are some seats in the Likely column that are bordering on safe for both parties, but for the time being I am still being generous with my ratings.
I'm moving Districts 23 and 88 from Leans Republican to Likely Republican. In district 23, the Democratic candidate Rick Redfern has had weak fundraising and trails incumbent Cheryl Grossman $25.1k to $449.69. One of the reasons I had this seat at Lean Republican was that I thought Redfern would have strong fundraising due to his brother Chris Redfern being state party chair and State Representative.
In district 88, car dealer Bill Reineke won the GOP nod over not-actually-a-candidate placeholder Rhonda Damschroder. Reineke has deep pockets and lacks the baggage of the petition issues that Damschroder had, so I'm moving this seat to Likely Republican from Leans Republican.
Overall, there are now 32 Safe D districts, 4 Likely D districts, 2 Lean D districts, 4 Toss Ups, 2 Lean R Districts, 12 Likely R districts, and 43 Safe R districts. I am projecting a Democratic pickup of 1-2 seats.