LIMA — No matter someone’s political leanings, most will admit President Donald Trump has invigorated the political conversation, and consequently, the discussion has encouraged more individuals — mostly on the Democratic side — to try their hand as political candidates on the state level.
This year, Ohio Democrats have fielded a candidate for every Ohio House race and have contenders in every major state race. Allen County Democratic Party Chairman Jeff Rex said candidates have filled the ticket as a reaction to what Democrats say has been a presidential administration that largely favors the upper class and is ignorant of social issues.
The most contested race on the state level is the vote for governor. The two Republicans — Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and Attorney General Mike DeWine — are estimated to run a close race in the primary, and the remaining nine Democratic candidates include a few politicians that have made names for themselves on the national stage, such as former presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, who resigned under Trump’s watch.
Another unusual quirk of the 2018 primary will be that both U.S. Representatives of the region, Reps. Bob Latta and Jim Jordan, both have incumbent challengers.
Joe Miller, of Marion, will run against Jim Jordan, and two Republican challengers, Van Wert County Commissioner Tom Wolfrum and Bob Kreienkamp of Bowling Green, will be running against Latta.
Locally, however, not much will change in 2018. The vast majority of Allen County elected officials will not have any challengers in the primary or the general election. The only actual race will be the primary election between Lawrence Huffman and Terri Kohlrieser for Common Pleas Judge.
“Based in all the years that I’ve been involved, this field is not exceptional in the number of candidates,” Allen County Republican Party Chairman Keith Cheney said.
Democrats have almost no presence on the local level. Rex said that often happens because it is difficult for local Democrats to convince a potential candidate they have a chance in the predominantly conservative region.
“Nationally, Democrats will gain position,” Rex said. “Congressionally, Democrats will gain. Locally, statewide, it’s much more of a challenge. Even within the state, you’ll see a swing of Democrats, maybe not the majority, but you’ll see way more of a presence.”
“I am confident that the Republican Party has fielded some very qualified candidates whether you’re looking at any of the races — federal-wide, state-wide, the congressional races, and certainly locally. It’s a testament to the locals we have that they’re seeking political office,” Cheney said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.