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Ohio Was Once The Measurement Of Political Normalcy-- Can That Be Reclaimed?

As a state, Ohio has an R+6 PVI— worse than Texas (R+5), Florida (R+3), North Carolina (R+3) or Georgia (R+3), not to mention Virginia (D+3). Trump won both times he ran— with 51.31% against Hillary’s 43.24% and with 53.27% against Biden’s 45.24%. Basically, there is no statewide Democratic Party in Ohio. The party is alive and competing— showing a pulse— in 15 of the state’s 88 counties; the rest have been lost to Magadonia. These were the counties where the Democratic Party showed up at all in 2020, although winning less than half:

  • Cuyahoga (Cleveland)- Biden- 66.36%

  • Franklin (Columbus)- Biden- 64.68%

  • Lucas (Toledo)- Biden- 57.39%

  • Hamilton (Cincinnati)- Biden- 57.15%

  • Athens- Biden- 56.55%

  • Summit (Akron)- Biden- 53.92%

  • Montgomery (Dayton)- Biden- 50.18%

  • Mahoning (Youngstown)- 48.36%

  • Lorain- Biden- 47.96%

  • Delaware- Biden- 45.69%

  • Wood (Bowling Green)- Biden- 45.29%

  • Trumbull (Warren)- Biden- 44.01%

  • Erie (Sandusky)- Biden- 43.28%

  • Portage- Biden- 42.95%

  • Lake- Biden- 42.45%

If Sherrod Brown (D-OH) loses his Senate seat next year, the Democrats will have zero chance retaining the Senate majority. Fortunately, he has his own political operation and doesn’t have to count on the moribund state party. In 2018 he beat self-funder, Rep. Jim Renacci 2,355,924 (53.4%) to 2,053,963 (46.6%) and he won the 7 counties Biden won + 9 others. He also significantly outperformed Biden in every single county that Biden won, in some by over 10 points!

Yesterday, Ed Kilgore used his New York Magazine column to emphasize that even Ohio has a pro-Choice majority— if it bothers to show up at the polls. “59.1 percent of registered Ohio voters,” he reported, “would favor a state constitutional amendment to restore abortion rights. Now that a measure to do just that looks very likely to appear on November 2023 ballots in Ohio, that should be enough to put the kibosh on the six-week abortion ban Ohio Republican legislators enacted in 2019; it’s been on temporary hold in state court. But there’s a catch: That same legislature scheduled a vote during an August 8 special election to raise the threshold for constitutional amendments proposed by citizen initiatives from a simple majority to the super-majority level of 60 percent. It was enacted with exactly the current scenario in mind and is designed to stop an anti-abortion win at the ballot box. If it passes, the 59.1 percent of Ohioans who favor abortion rights could be thwarted by a minority of voters.”

The proposed constitutional amendment essentially restates the Roe precedent abolished at the federal level by SCOTUS, protecting pre-viability abortions and allowing post-viability restrictions only if exceptions are made for pregnancies that threaten the life and health of the mother.
These two Ohio votes are the only abortion measures currently certified for this calendar year. (There’s a slight chance Pennsylvania’s legislature will certify an anti-abortion measure for the November ballot if Democrats lose control of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives.) So the Ohio votes will be watched carefully by advocates weighing 2024 abortion rights ballot initiatives (already on tap in Maryland and New York and likely in Florida) and by lawmakers and strategists for both major parties nationally. If Ohio’s anti-abortion majority manages to prevail twice this year, it will continue a winning streak at the polls that began in 2022 in Kansas, Kentucky, California, Vermont, Michigan, and Montana. It would also remind Republicans that their longtime alliance with the forced-birth lobby is going to continue costing them votes and even power.

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