Ballotpedia's 2012 General Election Preview Articles: Ohio Congressional Seats

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October 31, 2012

By Ballotpedia's Congressional team

Ohio's Congressional Elections in 2012
U.S. Senate Election? U.S. House seats Possible competitive races?
Yes 16 3 ( 6th, 7th, 16th)

COLUMBUS: Ohio: Ohio has 16 U.S. House seats and one U.S. Senate seat on the ballot in 2012. Eleven U.S. House incumbents are running for re-election and nine of them face at least one challenger in the general election. The U.S. Senate seat is held by Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown. Six candidates are vying for the seat on the general election ballot, including Republican state treasurer Josh Mandel.

Following the 2010 Census, Ohio was forced to eliminate two of its 18 congressional seats. Other than Ohio, only New York lost two seats. Although Ohio still saw positive net growth (only Michigan lost population in the past decade), urban areas in the state saw steep population declines. Of Ohio's five largest cities -- Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Akron -- only Columbus showed population growth (10.6% since 2000). Of the five, Cleveland suffered the sharpest decline, losing 17.1% its population.[1] Taken together, these factors required legislators to cut a district from the Cleveland area.

In Ohio, all polling places will be open from 6:30 AM to 7:30 PM Eastern Time, however if you are in line at the time of the poll closing at 7:30 PM you will be given the right to vote.[2]

See also: State Poll Opening and Closing Times (2012)

U.S. Senate

The election will fill the Class 1 Senate seat, which is currently held by Sherrod Brown (D). First elected in 2006, Brown is running for re-election in 2012.

This race has received heavy attention and spending regarding Brown's bid for re-election against Republican challenger Josh Mandel. Early on, conservatives identified Brown's seat as a potential flip -- he's a staunch progressive in a swing state -- in their quest to turn the Senate back over into Republican control. As a result, right-leaning groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have already spent more than $11.5 million on anti-Brown ad campaigns. The Chamber promises to still spend more before Election Day. The conservative group Crossroads GPS has also already reserved $6.7 million wort of ad space for the last five weeks of the campaign.[3]

Recent polls display a slight but consistent lead for Brown.[4] According to the Cook Political Report race ratings, Ohio's U.S. Senate race is considered to lean democratic.[5]

State General Election Candidates Incumbent 2012 Winner Partisan Switch?
Ohio Class 1 Senate seat :Democratic Party Sherrod Brown Incumbent
Republican Party Josh Mandel
Libertarian Party John Fockler Jr.
Green Party Joseph DeMare
Independent Rusty Bliss (Write-in)
Independent Scott Rupert
Sherrod Brown Pending Pending

U.S. House

Ohio's 6th congressional district is considered to be a toss-up according to the New York Times race ratings. In a rematch from two years ago, Republican incumbent Bill Johnson is challenged by Charlie Wilson, the Democrat whose seat he took in 2010. Democrats see an opportunity in this district. Johnson was made a part of the National Republican Congressional Committee’s "Patriot Program," a program with the goal of assisting congressional members expected to face tough re-election opponents.[6] Ohio's 6th District has also been included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's "Red to Blue List," which identifies districts that the organization has specifically targeted to flip from Republican to Democratic control.[7]

Ohio's 16th is considered to be a toss-up according to the New York Times race ratings. Democratic incumbent Betty Sutton will square off against Republican incumbent Jim Renacci in one of the two incumbent vs incumbent general election races in the nation. The district's new boundaries favor Renacci as does his 3:2 cash advantage in the race.[8] In the final two weeks before the election, Renacci changed his plans to air television advertisements. He had slots reserved for these two weeks, but since Cleveland is home to close races for Senate, House and Presidential elections, he decided that the market was saturated and that continuing to advertise on TV would not help him reach undecided voters. His opponent, 13th District incumbent Betty Sutton, continues to advertise.[9]

Here is a complete list of U.S. House candidates appearing on the general election ballot in Ohio:

Members of the U.S. House from Ohio -- Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 5 4
     Republican Party 13 12
Total 18 16
 Congressional Redistricting Map, approved December 2011 

For more information, view Redistricting in Ohio.

See also