Tag Archives: Max Miller

Primary Results in Ohio, Indiana;
An Odd Lt. Gov. Appointment in NY

By Jim Ellis
May 4, 2022

Primaries

Author J.D. Vance, Ohio Senate Candidate

Ohio: Vance, Ryan Move to General — Best-selling author J.D. Vance, armed with an endorsement from former President Donald Trump, won the open Ohio US Senate Republican nomination last night with a 32-24-23 percent victory over former state Treasurer Josh Mandel and state Sen. Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls). Businessman Mike Gibbons, who spent almost $17 million of his own money on the race, finished fourth with 12 percent, ahead of ex-Ohio Republican Party chair Jane Timken who posted only six percent support.

Polling proved to be accurate. The late race surveys were consistently showing Vance breaking into the lead, and the ballot tests were projecting he would win a close finish over Mandel and Sen. Dolan, which happened.

Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan

For the Democrats, as expected, US Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) was an easy winner, capturing 70 percent of the Democratic vote from a turnout that was significantly lower than the party performance in the most recent 2018 midterm election. Thus, Vance and Ryan now advance into what should be a competitive general election.

Turning to Cleveland, which hosted the most competitive Democratic congressional primary, freshman Rep. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) easily turned back former state senator and 2020 Bernie Sanders for President campaign national co-chair Nina Turner by a landslide 66-34 percent margin. The two ran against each other in the 2021 special election that first elected Rep. Brown.

In the Toledo-anchored 9th District, Iraq War veteran and Trump campaign activist J.R. Majewski (R) claimed the Republican nomination, defeating both state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance) and state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green). Majewski now advances into the general election against the Democratic US House member who has served longer than anyone in her party. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) was first elected in 1982. This will be a highly competitive general election in a new 9th CD that carries a R+6 rating.

Former Trump White House aide Max Miller (R), armed with the former president’s endorsement, easily won the Republican nomination since incumbent Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) surprisingly decided to retire after filing for re-election. Miller now becomes the heavy favorite to capture the R+14 open seat in the general election.

Staying in the northern Ohio region, the new open 13th District that looks to be playing as an even political domain, will feature a battle between state Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), who was unopposed in the Democratic primary, and TV commentator and former Miss Ohio in the USA beauty pageant, Michelle Gesiotto Gilbert, who captured the party nomination against six Republican opponents as another Trump-endorsed Ohio candidate. The Sykes-Gilbert contest begins as a toss-up general election campaign.

Indiana: Ex-Sen. Houchin Wins Open Seat GOP Nod — The Hoosier State battle in the southeastern corner of the state to succeed retiring Rep. Trey Hollingsworth (R-Jeffersonville) ended as many predicted. There, resigned state Sen. Erin Houchin, a former congressional aide to ex-Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN), won the Republican primary last night, defeating former Congressman Mike Sodrel and Bronze Star medal winner Stu Barnes-Israel, 37-26-21 percent.

Houchin now becomes the prohibitive favorite in the open 9th District general election. She will face educator Matthew Fyfe who won the Democratic primary but raised and spent less than $50,000 for his primary campaign.

In the northwestern 1st District, US Air Force Reserve Lt. Col. Jennifer-Ruth Green easily defeated former La Porte Mayor Blair Milo, 47-22 percent, to capture the Republican nomination. She advances to face freshman Rep. Frank Mrvan (D-Highland/Gary) who is on the ballot for a second term. The congressman was renominated in an 86 percent landslide.

Governor

Ohio: Gov. DeWine’s Unimpressive Win — Incumbent Mike DeWine successfully won re-nomination for a second term, but with only 48 percent support from within his own party. Had the anti-DeWine voters coalesced behind one candidate, it is now apparent that such an individual may have denied the governor a primary victory. Former US Congressman Jim Renacci scored 28 percent of the vote and farmer Joe Blystone posted 22 percent.

For the Democrats, Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley easily defeated former Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley with 65 percent of the vote. Whaley carried all but eight of the state’s 88 counties, including nipping Cranley in his home county of Hamilton. Whether or not Mayor Whaley can force Gov. DeWine into a tight November contest remains to be seen, but she did exhibit strength within her party while the governor’s performance among Republicans was clearly disappointing.

House

NY-19: Rep. Delgado Chosen as Lieutenant Governor — Yesterday, Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) chose US Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-Rhinebeck) as her new lieutenant governor. Delgado replaces her first choice, Lt. Gov. Brian Benjamin (D) who was indicted for bribery and forced to resign. The selection of Rep. Delgado is an interesting one in that the appointment creates another vacancy in the US House and forces an additional special election. Currently, four Republican and one Democratic House seats are vacant for various reasons.

The Upstate 19th District may undergo significant change when the new congressional maps are court drawn later this month. The move to choose a House member is curious in that it creates further uncertainty for the Democrats now that their 22D-4R map has been disqualified as a partisan gerrymander. The current 19th District is rated R+4, while the re-drawn district on the rejected map rates D+4. Under a new draw, this seat will almost assuredly become a top Republican conversion target. Delgado was first elected to the House in 2018.

Ohio Numbers Crunched

Ohio 2022 Congressional Redistricting map. Click on image to go to FiveThirtyEight’s fully interactive map.

By Jim Ellis

April 11, 2022 — When Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) announced the suspension of his re-election campaign on Wednesday, it brought some national attention to what has become a Buckeye State redistricting debacle.

Gibbs called out the Ohio State Supreme Court for allowing the replacement congressional district map to languish in political limbo after they rejected the first iteration for excessive political gerrymandering. Though congressional candidate filing was delayed until March 4 from the original Feb. 2 deadline in association with the state’s May 3 primary, the court still took no action toward finalizing a new map. Therefore, candidates were forced to file for districts that may or may not change before election day.

When the Ohio state high court finally informed the Democrat plaintiffs who were challenging the map that the decision regarding the first map constituted the final ruling, the complaint process had to rewind, beginning with a new lawsuit. Now filed, it is apparent that first judicial action on the new challenge is still months away. Therefore, the replacement map appears set for the 2022 elections, at least through the nomination process.

That finally being the case, we can now look at what is becoming a relatively competitive map for the upcoming general election.

Ohio loses a seat, therefore a new congressional map must be in place for the 2022 elections, otherwise all 15 US House contests would be decided on a statewide basis.

The state will now feature two open seats, Gibbs’ 7th CD and the newly configured open 13th District that Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Warren/Youngstown) is vacating to run for US Senate. Two new House members, Reps. Shontel Brown (D-Warrensville Heights/Cleveland) and Mike Carey (R-Columbus), who were both elected in November 2021 special elections, will stand for full terms this year.

Of the 13 incumbents seeking re-election, two, Reps. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) and Marcy Kaptur (D-Toledo) — the latter being the fourth longest-serving member of the House who was first elected in 1982 — find themselves in toss-up general election situations.

In Rep. Chabot’s 1st District, which covers much of greater Cincinnati, the FiveThirtyEight data organization rates the seat as a D+3. Dave’s Redistricting App largely agrees, finding the average Democratic vote over a historical set of races registering 49.91 percent as opposed to 47.93 percent for Republicans. Already, the general election is largely set with Rep. Chabot seeking re-election and the Democrats having a consensus candidate is Cincinnati City Councilman Greg Landsman.

Rep. Kaptur sees the Cleveland portion of her district redacted, meaning her Toledo-anchored seat now features an even mix between Democrats and Republicans. The FiveThirtyEight group rates Kaptur’s new 9th CD at R+6, but Dave’s Redistricting App sees this seat differently. According to the party averages over the course of past political contests, the Democratic vote is 48.77 percent, as compared to a virtually even percentage for Republicans, 48.63.

Rep. Kaptur has no Democratic primary opposition, but four Republicans have filed, two of whom would be significant general election contenders. They are state Sen. Theresa Gavarone (R-Bowling Green) and state Rep. Craig Riedel (R-Defiance). It is likely that one of these two will advance into the general election and make the OH-9 general election campaign one of the most hotly contested in the nation.

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Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs Suspends Campaign for Re-election

By Jim Ellis

Ohio Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) to retire.

April 8, 2022 — Expressing frustration with the Ohio courts and constituent complexion of his new district, six-term Buckeye State Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Lakeville) on Wednesday surprisingly became the 22nd Republican US House member who has decided not to seek re-election.

This retirement announcement is different from all the others — 31 Democrats have also made public their decision to leave the House at the end of the current session — because Gibbs had filed for re-election and Ohio early voting has already begun.

Lashing out at the state Supreme Court that has delayed for weeks in providing 2022 candidates a clear direction with regard to the redistricting maps, Gibbs said in his retirement announcement statement, “It is irresponsible to effectively confirm the congressional map for this election cycle seven days before voting begins, especially in the Seventh Congressional District, where almost 90 percent of the electorate is new and nearly two-thirds is an area primarily from another district, foreign to any expectations or connection to the current Seventh District.”

Rep. Gibbs has a valid point about the state Supreme Court. After rejecting the original congressional map under partisan gerrymandering reasoning, the legislature returned a second map, and the court did not render a decision, even after again rejecting the alternative version maps for the state House and Senate. Therefore, the congressional incumbents and candidates have been languishing for weeks not knowing precisely the location of the new district lines, and long past the candidate filing deadline that occurred on March 4.

The court justices then informed the Democratic plaintiffs regarding their lawsuit challenging the congressional lines, after waiting for several weeks with no action, that the original decision on the first map constituted their final ruling, thus the plaintiffs would have to file a new lawsuit for them to consider further arguments to the second plan. The Democratic plaintiffs did file again, but even preliminary action of any kind is reportedly now months away. Hence, the second map is, at least for now, in place for the 2022 election cycle.

The court and legislature were also in a battle over whether the high court even has jurisdiction to order new maps. Under the Ohio Constitution, the courts do not have authority to draw new redistricting maps. They may only remand any rejected map back to the legislature. Thus, the continuing saga of 2022 Ohio redistricting.

Considering Gibbs’ late withdrawal, Secretary of State Frank LaRose (R) immediately announced that the congressman’s name cannot be removed from the ballot, and any vote cast for him would now not be counted. The move puts former Trump White House aide and Marine Corps veteran Max Miller in the favorite’s position for the Republican primary.

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Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez
Won’t Seek Re-Election

By Jim Ellis

Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Rocky River)

Sept. 21, 2021 — Saying he believes that former President Donald Trump “shouldn’t ever be president again,” sophomore Ohio Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Rocky River) announced on Friday that he will not seek a third term in the House.

Rep. Gonzalez was one of 10 Republicans to support Trump’s second impeachment, and drew a strong Republican primary opponent as a result. Former President Trump responded to Gonzalez’s statement and decision with his own release saying, “1 down, 9 to go,” in reference to those Republican House members who supported removing him from office after the Jan. 6 Capitol invasion.

Gonzalez is the 19th member who will not be on the next election ballot for the US House seat he now holds, including the three vacancies to be filled in special elections. Of the 19, Republicans currently hold 10 seats as compared to nine for the Democrats. This is the first GOP opening with some competitive potential, however, though the Gonzalez decision will likely have a big impact upon the Ohio redistricting process currently under way within the state legislature in Columbus.

Former White House aide Max Miller had been Rep. Gonzalez’s top Republican competitor. Through the June 30 campaign financial disclosure period, Miller had raised just under $1 million ($951,520), but had only $533,153 remaining in cash-on-hand.

Despite Miller’s strong fundraising effort, Rep. Gonzalez still held the upper hand, reporting $1.22 million raised with over $1.5 million in the bank. Therefore, while the Miller challenge appeared formidable, it was not a foregone conclusion that he would have denied Rep. Gonzalez re-nomination had the congressman decided to continue running.

Rep. Gonzalez’s 16th Congressional District begins in the Westlake area to the west of Cleveland and stretches south toward the rural areas southwest of Canton. It then meanders to the northeast around Akron to end in the city of Edinburg.

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Re-Mapping Ohio

Ohio’s Congressional Districts


By Jim Ellis

July 21, 2021 — Thanks to the state of Ohio, the redistricting calendar has new life. The Buckeye State’s lawsuit against the Census Bureau and a negotiated out of court settlement led to an agreement that all 50 states will receive their redistricting census tract data on or around Aug. 15 instead of well into October or beyond.

Typically, states receive their individual data, mandatory for drawing federal congressional districts that must be drawn to a factor of plus or minus one person, during the early part of the year. The Census Bureau largely blames this year’s delays on COVID-19, though a great deal of the problem centers around the bureaucracy attempting to impose differential privacy on part of the data, meaning some of the key statistical information would not be released. The states not having full access would lead to the new districts being less statistically reliable.

Even the August data distribution agreement, however, creates a tenuous situation for the states to complete their redistricting work and still adhere to mandatory internal local deadlines. This is particularly true for the states like Ohio that are losing or gaining congressional representation.

Ohio grew at a percentage rate of just 2.3 through the decade, ranking 44th in the nation and just over a full percentage point below the national average. The 2020 census numbers add to the continuing trend for this state of failing to keep pace with national population growth. In the 1980 census, for example, Ohio held 21 congressional districts. It would lose two congressional seats in the 1990 apportionment, one more in 2000, and two more in 2010 to bring us to its current total of 16. The 2020 census reduces the delegation to 15 seats.

Currently, the Ohio US House delegation stands at a party division of 12R-4D. Since the count is so lopsided in the Republicans’ favor, it looks on paper that the GOP would be the party that loses one of its members.

Looking closely at the individual district population data, however, that may not be the case. Despite the Dems having only four seats, three of their four are among Ohio’s most under-populated CDs, while one, the 3rd District of Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Columbus), actually must shed the most population, some 34,000-plus residents according to the latest published figures (July 2019). Adding the last year of population statistics could change the situation, but at first glance the statewide and district totals suggest alterations will only be minor.
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