By Rev. Donald L. Perryman, Ph.D.
The Truth Contributor
Nonvoting is a fruitless temper tantrum. – Bruce Wright, Judge
With results from the August 2, 2022, Primary Election in the bag, candidates can now focus solely on the November 8 General Election.
Here are a few decisive races to keep an eye on:
Ohio Senator District 11: Paula Hicks-Hudson vs. Tony Dia
Paula Hicks-Hudson, Toledo’s first African-American female mayor, attempts to move to the Ohio Senate after serving in the Ohio House of Represented since 2019. The 1973 graduate of Spellman College also has a graduate degree from Colorado State and a law degree from the University of Iowa. The longtime attorney has also served several terms on Toledo City Council.
While in the Ohio House of Representatives, Hicks-Hudson was assigned to several committees, most recently, the Joint Legislative Ethics, House Finance, House Rules and Reference, and the Agriculture and Conservation committees.
Hicks-Hudson, a Democrat, will face Republican businessman Tony Dia. He fell just one position shy of a Toledo City Council At-large seat in 2021.
Dia has a sympathetic story but also an unflattering history. In addition, this is the third time he has run for office after two unsuccessful attempts. The only way he has a shot is if the Republican caucus in Columbus decides to invest substantial resources in his campaign.
Outlook: Paula Hicks-Hudson wins easily.
Ohio House District 41: Nancy Larson (D) vs. Josh Williams (R)
The Republican Party has targeted this race as one they want to win badly.
Josh Williams has a compelling life story. His brand follows the conservative narrative of overcoming adversity by ascending the ladder of financial success through hard work without the need for “liberal social safety nets.”
Williams, an African American, has already raised a ton of money, and conservatives are prepared to drop an unlimited amount of additional resources to accomplish their goal. It would not be out of the realm of possibility for the Republican Party to drop a million dollars into a state race that usually could win for $18,000 to $30,000. The Republicans definitely have bank, and their whole redistricting plan was to create toss-up districts to appease the court and win them with money and power.
However, local Republican and Independent women could trampoline off the Kansas abortion surprise, where more than 58 percent of that traditionally ruby red state’s voters unexpectedly voted to protect abortion rights. That obviously benefits Larson and other local women candidates if that’s the case.
On the other hand, women have often opposed many conservative policies and nevertheless turned around to support Republican candidates who viewed those issues differently.
Outlook: Toss-up with a slight edge to Williams because of his potential funding advantage.
Ohio House District 42: Erika White vs. Derek Merrin
Like the Larson vs. Williams race, this contest will depend on how much financial support the Republican candidate receives from Columbus. Many Republicans perceive Merrin as a “kind of Ted Cruz irritant.” They would prefer he just goes to Columbus and vote how they tell him to vote. Merrin has also been described as a “loose cannon,” so the Republicans clearly are not passionate about him.
Previously, Merrin represented a solidly Republican and, therefore, unlosable district. The old boundaries went over to Fulton County and included all of Western Lucas County and Waterville, where he was the mayor. With redistricting, he’s been moved into a highly competitive district against a formidable candidate in Erika White.
The dynamic and charismatic White has a message similar to U.S. Senate candidate Tim Ryan, who might be writing the playbook on how to get the Trump voters back to the Democratic Party.
White is also a highly respected labor leader. Yet, the influential building trades may have been investing in Merrin because he caved in to them during the primary to protect living wage and right-to-work policies. Merrin, in the past, has not always stuck to the conservatives’ talking points and is a little too independent for the political kingmakers’ tastes. So, again, the question will be how much support he gets from the Republican caucus in Columbus.
Outlook: Ohio House district 42 is very winnable for Erika White as her opponent has a brutal voting record in significant parts of the newly constructed district, including majority Democratic Toledo.
Ohio House District 43: Michele Grim vs. Wendi Hendricks
The Republican redistricting plan attempted to cram as many Democrats into as few districts as possible. Then, if they were to create a district that the Democrats could win, they made it so overwhelmingly Democratic Party-leaning that the boundaries would waste excess votes. The Republicans also attempted to turn two formerly safe Democratic districts into 50/50 and try to win those.
The overturning of Roe v. Wade may or may not have added a new variable and changed that calculus to convince Republican and independent women voters to vote for Democratic Party women candidates. Nevertheless, Grim has the money, resources and name recognition to prevail.
Outlook: Democrats have a 70/30 advantage in the safe 43rd district. This is a Slam Dunk for the well-resourced Michele Grim.
Ohio House District 44: Elgin Rogers vs. Roy G, Palmer III
Elgin Rogers has excellent name recognition in Toledo’s Community. He is co-founder and president of the African American Leadership Caucus. This Political Action Committee (PAC) has raised money to help support issues and candidates committed to improving the lives of African Americans in Lucas County. Rogers has also taught Political Science and the Civil Rights Movement courses at several colleges and universities throughout the Midwest.
While this is Rogers’ first campaign as an actual candidate, he may not enjoy the same name recognition throughout rural areas of a revamped House District 44. Nevertheless, the Republicans designed the district to be safe for the Democrats.
Outlook: Rogers wins by a comfortable margin.
Contact Rev. Donald Perryman, PhD, at firstname.lastname@example.org