Ohio Statehouse Update: General Election Preview 2012

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With the November 6 General Election only five weeks away, the political campaign season is kicking into high gear.  Here is a preview of the major candidate races and issues that will be on the ballot in Ohio.

Presidential Election

President Barack Obama is seeking a second term as president of the United States against Republican challenger and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. As in the past, Ohio, with its 18 electoral votes, is again predicted to be one of several key swing states in determining which candidate is elected to the White House.

U.S. Senate

Ohio Democrat U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is being challenged by Republican State Treasurer Josh Mandel.  This matchup is being touted nationally as one of the top U.S. Senate races in this year’s election.  The candidates have agreed to three debates prior to the election, currently scheduled to take place in Cleveland on October 15, Columbus on October 18 and Cincinnati on October 25.  Ohio’s other U.S. Senator, Republican Rob Portman (who was widely rumored over the summer to be on the Romney campaign’s vice presidential running mate short-list), was elected in 2010 and does not face re-election until 2016.

U.S. House of Representatives 

Due to slower population growth in relation to other U.S. states, Ohio was forced to reduce its number of congressional districts from 18 to 16 in last year’s redistricting process, required to take place every 10 years following the census.  All 16 of the newly drawn congressional districts are up for election this year to two-year terms.

Click here for an overview map of Ohio’s new congressional districts

Ohio Supreme Court 

The Ohio Supreme Court has seven justices who are elected to six-year terms. Currently the makeup of the Court by political party affiliation includes six Republican justices and one Democrat.  Three seats will appear on the ballot in the November election.

Ohio Senate 

Through a process paralleling congressional redistricting every 10 years, Ohio’s state legislative districts have also been redrawn for the 2012 election by the Ohio Apportionment Board to account for changes in population across the state.  Republicans currently hold a 23-10 advantage over Democrats in the Ohio Senate. Members of the Ohio Senate are elected to four-year terms.  Of the Senate’s 33 seats, 18 are on the ballot in the November election. Highlighted below are several races of interest.

Click here for an overview map of the new Ohio Senate districts.

Ohio House of Representatives 

As mentioned above, the Ohio House of Representatives’ districts have been reconfigured for the 2012 election through the Apportionment Board process. Republicans currently hold a 59-40 majority over Democrats in the Ohio House. All 99 seats in the Ohio House are up for election this year to two-year terms.  Due to member departures as a result of term limits and other factors, as well as the new geographical boundaries of the districts resulting from apportionment, there are numerous open House seats in this year’s election.  Highlighted below are several races of interest.

Click here for an overview map of the new Ohio House districts.

Statewide Ballot Issues 

Although a myriad of proposed ballot initiatives involving issues such as dog auctions, medical marijuana and “workplace freedom” were under discussion this spring, only two statewide issues will appear on this year’s general election ballot – one automatically mandated by Ohio’s Constitution, and the other a proposed constitutional amendment placed on the ballot through an initiative petition.