Inside Statehouse Politics
By Bethany Stewart
Republican Representative J. Todd Smith (R- Farmersville) recently indicated he will not seek re-election for his Ohio House seat. This ends a Republican primary battle between Smith and Preble County Commissioner Rodney Creech. Creech will face Democrat Amy Cox in November.
The district has been Republican controlled since 2014 but is considered in play by the House Democrats who remarkably shared with Cleveland.com that they are focused on winning only two Ohio House seats this November.
“House Democrats this year are aiming for the more modest goal of picking up the two additional seats needed to erase the House GOP’s 60-seat supermajority, which allows Republicans to override gubernatorial vetoes and put measures on the statewide ballot without Democratic votes,” Jeremy Pelzer, Cleveland.com.
Is the lack of effort from the House Democrats a sign of overall failed party leadership? The last time Democrats controlled the Ohio House was in 2009 when Armond Budish was Speaker for two years. His tenure ended at the same time former Democrat Governor Ted Strickland lost after only one term.
Since that time the Democrat party has failed to obtain any significant wins with the exception of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
We asked political operative and former Chief Operating Officer for the Ohio Senate, Neil Clark, if the Democrat party is all but throwing in the towel in Ohio by setting such a low bar to win back seats in the House?
Clark explained that he doesn’t think so, and he actually thinks the Democrats had a resurgence through using Instant Voter Registration and the issue of redistricting to make Ohio more competitive.
He went on to explain that Republicans have been successful in the past without creating ballot initiatives or wanting to redraw district lines because their primary focus is on policy issues and how they can message those to the public. He believes that by remaining focused on those strategies, Republicans will keep their power.