More OT for Ohio’s primary before House incumbent’s big win

By Dan Sewell - Associated Press

CINCINNATI (AP) — A Democratic U.S. House incumbent knocked away a spirited challenge in central Ohio and a health care advocate won the nomination to take on a potentially vulnerable Republican congressman in the Cincinnati area as Ohio’s extended primary voting came to an end with results still being reported Wednesday.

A late surge of votes arriving by mail and from people allowed to vote in-person Tuesday left some key races in doubt hours into Wednesday morning. A few remained in doubt as absentee ballots postmarked April 27 are still coming in, and provisional ballots also will be verified for counting.

With former Vice President Joe Biden already the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, his Ohio victory was expected. Two hotly contested congressional races drew national attention, but both turned out to be blowouts.

House District 3 results early Wednesday gave four-term Rep. Joyce Beatty a decisive victory in her primary with some 68% of the vote in unofficial returns.

In the Democratic primary in House District 1, health care advocate Kate Schroder won by a 2-to-1 margin over veteran Air Force pilot Nikki Foster.

There were primary races in most of the state’s 16 congressional districts, and all incumbents with challengers easily won nomination.

Rep. Beatty in Columbus drew a Democratic challenger from the left in Morgan Harper. Harper was endorsed by Justice Democrats, the progressive political action committee that helped give rise to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York.

However, Beatty won endorsements from the Franklin County Democratic Party and former gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray, who was the Democrats’ unsuccessful gubernatorial nominee in 2018.

Schroder, experienced in public health locally and globally, ran away with the House District 1 race to to oppose 12-term Republican Rep. Steve Chabot of Cincinnati. Some Democrats say they believe Chabot’s district is ripe for an upset, with Republican President Donald Trump looming as an issue they could try to use to sway suburban female voters.

“Now more than ever, we need leaders who put public health over politics, and who bring people together to get things done for our community,” Schroder said Wednesday in a statement. “I promise to be that leader for the people of this district, and I look forward to continuing to build this movement as we head into the general election to defeat Steve Chabot.”

Chabot didn’t mention the race Wednesday in his blog, focusing instead of the need to hold China accountable for the pandemic.

In nearby District 10, Republican incumbent Mike Turner, former mayor of Dayton, easily won his party’s nomination and will face Democratic nominee Desiree Tims. Tims has worked for conservation and child care groups, and also on the staffs of Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown and New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, both Democrats. Turner was first elected to Congress in 2003.

In key legislative races, Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech defeated incumbent state Rep. Todd Smith, of Germantown, for the Republican nomination for House District 43. Smith had announced he wouldn’t seek re-election, but remained on ballots..

In southwest Ohio, State Rep. George Lang, of West Chester, topped a fellow state lawmaker, term-limited state Rep. Candice Keller, of Middletown, and U.S. Army veteran Lee Wong to clinch the Republican nomination for an Ohio Senate seat.

Former U.S. Rep Jean Schmidt was narrowly winning a three-way race for the GOP nomination for a state House seat in Clermont County, although The Associated Press hasn’t projected her as the winner because of absentee and provisional ballots yet to be counted.

State officials called off in-person voting just hours before the scheduled March 17 primary for public health reasons during the coronavirus outbreak. Voting continued mostly by mail, with Tuesday’s in-person voting at county election board offices limited to disabled and homeless people and voters who attested they didn’t get their requested ballots back by mail in time.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a Republican, had told counties not to report partial returns, leading to late tallies.

“It’s a volume issue, and that’s a good thing,” spokesman Jon Keeling said by email early Wednesday. “It’s an unprecedented election and we’ve learned to expect the unexpected … What matters is accuracy — not speed.”

By Dan Sewell

Associated Press