In presidential contests, Ohio is a true purple state. George W. Bush won the state twice, Barack Obama won the state twice, and Donald Trump won in 2016. But on the state level, Ohio has been a Republican trifecta, with Republicans controlling the Governorship and both houses of the state legislature for most of the last three decades.
Republicans have controlled the Ohio State Senate since 1992, and they currently have a 24 to 9 majority. Since 1992, Republicans have controlled the State House for all but 5 years, and they currently have a 65 to 33 majority (with one vacancy). These large majorities have given Republicans substantial power to push an ultra-conservative agenda in the Buckeye State.
To take back the majority, Democrats need to pick up 8 seats in the State Senate, and 17 seats in the State House. This year, they can start building back in both chambers, with half the Senate and all of the House up this year.
EveryDistrict’s Legislative District Index (LDI) ranks state legislative districts on a scale from 100 to -100, using statewide elections data. Districts with a score of 100 would vote for statewide Democratic candidates by 100 points (with the Democratic candidate receiving 100% of the vote); districts with a score of -100 would vote for statewide Republican candidates by 100 points (with the Republican candidate receiving 100% of the vote).
EveryDistrict divides winnable districts into three categories: Tier I, Tier II, and Tier III. Tier I districts lean Democratic but are held by a Republican state legislator. Tier II districts lean slightly Republican, with a range of 0 up to -5. Tier III districts lean slightly more Republican, with a range of -5 up to -10. For more information about EveryDistrict’s LDI, please click here.
Only the odd-numbered State Senate districts are on the ballot in 2018. In total, there are four districts that lean Democratic (Tier I), and three of them are on the ballot this year: Senate Districts 3, 5, and 13. Then, there are another 2 seats that lean slightly Republican: Senate District 19 (Tier II) and Senate District 29 (Tier III).
Senate District 5 is based in parts of Dayton, and District 13 is centered on Lorain and Elyria, two Northeastern Ohio communities west of Cleveland. District 19 snakes from the northern portion of Columbus into more northern, rural areas while District 29 centers on Canton, just south of Akron.
In the State House, there are six seats that lean Democratic (Tier I): House Districts 16, 19, 21, 24, 28, and 55. There are another ten that lean slightly Republican. In the Tier II category are House Districts 3, 6, 23, 36, 37, 43, 89, and 94. In the Tier III category are House Districts 7 and 79.
What’s At Stake
Democratic majorities in Ohio would implement progressive policies to combat years of extreme, conservative proposals that have undermined women’s rights, gun safety, and voting rights, in particular.
Instead of implementing gun safety measures in the wake of mass shootings around the country, Ohio Republicans have loosened gun laws, even allowing those with a concealed carry license to bring their gun into a daycare.
Ohio Republicans have continued to find ways to make it harder for voters to vote. In 2005, Ohio passed a voter ID law. In 2011, Republicans tightened ID requirements and shortened early voting, and in 2016, the US Supreme Court upheld the shortened early voting period. The US Supreme Court also upheld Ohio’s system of purging voters from the rolls if they don’t vote in an election for two years, making it harder for people like servicemembers to exercise their right to vote.
Republican legislators in Ohio have been very busy in recent years crafting new ways to restrict access to women’s health care. In 2017, lawmakers banned abortions after 20 weeks, and in 2016, Governor Kasich vetoed the “heartbeat bill,” that would have banned abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, which can be as early as six weeks.
EveryDistrict endorses candidates in competitive districts that are committed to moving their communities forward, have strong connections to their districts, and have a campaign strategy in place to win. Below are the candidates we’ve endorsed so far and that you can support by donating or becoming a fundraising champion today.