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More candidates enter crowded field for Ohio governor

  • Ohio-Governor-s-Race-Republicans-1

    Republican candidates for governor Mike DeWine and Mary Taylor.


  • Ohio-Governor-s-Race-Democrats

    From left: Richard Cordray, Dennis Kucinich, William O'Neill, Connie Pillich; and Joe Schiavoni. are among those running for the Democratic nomination for governor.


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  • Supreme-Court-Ohio-Voter-Rolls-2

    Sen. Sherrod Brown


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    Congressman Bob Latta

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This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Adam Papin, the lone Democrat running for the 1st Senate District seat.

COLUMBUS — The crowded fields to succeed Republican Gov. John Kasich and challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown grew more crowded Wednesday with passage of the deadline for candidates to file petitions for the May 8 primary election.

Eight Democrats filed petitions for governor, including three who had not been in the picture until now. That compares to the relatively compact race of two political heavyweights on the Republican side — Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

Rocky River physician Jonathan D. Heavey, Alliance political newcomer Paul E. Ray, and returning candidate Larry E. Ealy of Dayton joined an already well-publicized Democratic cast that includes former federal consumer watchdog Richard Cordray, former Cleveland U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Ohio Supreme Court Justice William O’Neill, former Cincinnati state Rep. Connie Pillich, and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni (D., Boardman).

Dr. Heavey sought to demonstrate his seriousness by lending his campaign $1.5 million of his own money, according to his annual report filed recently with the secretary of state’s office.

In addition, the Green Party will offer Columbus attorney Constance Gadell-Newton in the race.


Republican candidates for governor Mike DeWine and Mary Taylor.


The Republican State Central Committee will meet Friday to discuss issuing endorsements in the state races. Ms. Taylor sought to head off calls for an early endorsement of Mr. DeWine.

“Please consider not putting your finger on the scale of this race, as it ignores the will of the people and circumvents your own rules and ideals in the process,” she wrote in a letter to committee members. “Either way, the voters will decide on May 8th.”

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown is one of just two incumbents on Ohio’s statewide ballot this year, the other being newly appointed state Supreme Court Justice Mary DeGenaro, a Republican.

No one stands between the Democratic nomination and Mr. Brown, who is seeking a third six-year term.

But Republicans offer plenty of choices — Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, northeast Ohio U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, Marysville business co-owner Melissa Ackison, frequent candidate Don Eckhart of Galloway, and political newcomer Dan Kiley of Mainesville.

In battles for U.S. Congress, former state Rep. Steve Kraus, a Republican, stepped forward to make a bid to challenge the winner of the Democratic primary for the 9th District. The former Ohio 89th House District representative was kicked out of office in 2015 after being convicted on a felony theft charge in Ottawa County.

On the Democratic side, incumbent U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D. Toledo) faces a challenge from Joshua Garcia of Lorain in the primary.


Congressman Bob Latta

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Incumbent U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) has competition for the GOP nomination in the 5th District from Robert Kreienkamp of Wayne, Wood County, and Todd Wolfrum, a Van Wert County commissioner.

Maumee resident and investment fund manager Michael Galbraith and James Neu of Perrysburg filed petitions for the Democratic nomination.

U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., Urbana) will have a challenge for the Republican nomination for re-election in Ohio’s 4th District from James Miller of Marion. The winner will oppose one of three Democrats: Norbert G. Dennerll of Elyria, Cody James Slatzer-Rose of New Albany, and Janet Garrett of Oberlin.

Most of the statewide primary ballot has little if any competition, leaving the real battles for November:

■ Attorney General: Eight years after originally eyeing this office, Republican State Auditor Dave Yost, a former Delaware County prosecutor, gets his chance. Former Cleveland area U.S. Prosecuting Attorney Steve Dettelbach is unopposed for the Democratic nomination.

■ Secretary of State: State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent) and Sen. Frank LaRose (R., Hudson) are unopposed for the Democratic and Republican nominations, respectively.

■ Auditor: A familiar face from the 2016 U.S. Senate race, Cincinnati occupational therapist Kelli Prather, filed petitions to seek the Democratic nomination for state auditor against former southeast Ohio Congressman Zack Space. State Rep. Keith Faber (R., Celina) is unopposed for the GOP nomination.

■ Treasurer: Frequent tea party candidate Sandra O’Brien is back to ensure that state Rep. Robert Sprague (R., Findlay), does not have an easy path to the Republican nomination. Former Cincinnati mayor candidate Rob Richardson and Westerville insurance agent Neil Patel are competing on the Democratic side.

■ Supreme Court: Justice DeGenaro is unopposed in her Republican bid to hold onto the seat vacated by the court’s sole Democrat, Justice O’Neill. Cleveland appellate Judge Melody J. Stewart seeks the Democratic nod.

■ Supreme Court: Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Michael Donnelly and Canton appellate Judge Craig Baldwin seek the Democratic and GOP nominations, respectively. Republican Justice Terrence O’Donnell cannot seek re-election because of his age.

The contests for local representatives and senators in the Ohio General Assembly feature a handful of challengers from within the parties.

Voters will decide May 8 in the Democratic primary between State Rep. Michael Ashford and fellow state representative Teresa Fedor for the soon-ro-be vacated seat of Sen. Edna Brown, who represents District 11. Ms. Fedor and Mr. Ashford must surrender their House seats because of term limits.

In the 1st Senate District, which overs much of Ohio's rural northwestern corner, incumbent Sen. Robert McColley (R., Napoleon) is opposed by Craig Kupferberg of Findlay and Bob Barker, Jr., of Van Wert. Adam Papin of Bryan is the lone Democrat for the office.

Northwest Ohio House districts will have the following candidates on the May ballot:

■ 3rd (Wood County): Incumbent Rep. Theresa Charters Gavarone, a Republican, and Democrat Daniel Gordon, a Bowling Green councilman, are unopposed.

■ 44th (central Toledo): Former Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson is opposed by Robert Worthington for the Democratic nomination. No Republican filed for the seat now held by Mr. Ashford.

■ 45th (North and East Toledo, Washington and Sylvania townships) Democrats Lisa Sobecki and Nathaniel Livingston, Jr. are running for Ms. Fedor’s current seat.

■ 46th (South Toledo, Maumee, Holland, Springfield Township, eastern Lucas): Rep. Michael Sheehy (D., Oregon) and Republican Matthew Barry of South Toledo are unopposed in their party primaries.

■ 47th (western Lucas County suburbs, most of Fulton): Incumbent Rep. Derek Merrin (R., Monclova Township) is opposed by fellow Republican Barbara Lang, a Monclova Township trustee. Gary Newnham of Sylvania is the Democratic candidate.

■ 81st ( Williams, Henry, Putnam, and Fulton counties): Rep. Jim Hoops, who recently replaced Sen. Robert McColley (R., Napoleon), is being challenged by Republican Thomas Liebrecht. Democrat Janet Breneman has no opponent.

■ 82nd (Defiance, Paulding, and Van Wert counties and northwest Auglaize County): Republican incumbent Rep. Craig Riedel and Democrat Aden Baker are unopposed.

■ 83rd (Hancock, Hardin, northeastern Logan counties): Republicans Cheryl Buckland of Findlay and Jon Cross of Kenton are competing for the house seat of Rep. Sprague, who is running for state treasurer. Democrat Ashley Philipp of McComb is unopposed.

■ 88nd (Sandusky and Seneca Counties): Rep. Bill Reineke (R., Tiffin) has no Republican opponent. Rachel Crooks, a Heidelberg University administrator who gained national attention as one of more than a dozen women who accused Donald Trump of sexual misconduct during the 2016 campaign, and Colin Paylor, a 17-year-old high school student, are vying for the Democratic Party nomination.

■ 89th (Ottawa and Erie counties): Rep. Steve Arndt (R., Port Clinton) and Democrat Joe Helle, mayor of Oak Harbor, Ohio, are unopposed.

In election for Lucas County commissioner to replace Carol Contrada, former Maumee Municipal Court Judge Gary Byers is opposed in the primary by Michael Hood, a Spencer Township trustee. Sandy Bashaw of Toledo is the lone Republican candidate.

Democrat Lindsay Webb, who was appointed to replace Wade Kapszukiewicz as county treasurer, and Republican Lori Brodie, mayor of Waterville, are unopposed in the primary race for treasurer.

In Lucas County Common Pleas Court judicial contests, incumbent Judge Stacy Cook is being challenged in the Democratic primary by Joanne Horen, a former employee of the judge. Ms. Horen filed a federal lawsuit against Judge Cook claiming she was wrongfully dismmised in 2009 after she took time off work under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The lawsuit was dismissed and the decision was upheld by a federal appeals court.

Democrat Joe McNamara and Toledo Municipal Judge Joshua Lanzinger, a Republican, filed petitions for their party's nomination for the seat on Common Pleas held by Judge James Bates, who is prohibited by age restrictions from seeking re-election.

Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda, a Republican, and Democrat Joel Kuhlman, a Democrat, are unopposed in the primary for a vacancy on the Ohio 6th District Court of Appeals.

Contact Jim Provance at or 614-221-0496.

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