Senate, Congress, county races on the ballot

If you’re confused by what will end up being two primaries in Ohio, you’re not alone.

Early voting begins Tuesday, April 5 for the May 3 primary. But you won’t see the Ohio House and Ohio Senate races on the ballots. Nor any of the central state committee races – races that determine who controls each political party.

Voters will likely have another primary in August to decide those races once the courts and the General Assembly can reach an agreement on legislative district boundaries.

This does not affect the races for Congress this election.

You will be able to vote in the primaries for the United States House and Senate, governor, county races, and all other races.

Ohio has grown accustomed to weird primaries in recent years. The pandemic arrived at the same time as the March 17, 2020 primary in Ohio, forcing Gov. Mike DeWine to postpone it at the last minute until April 28.

While it hasn’t reached pandemic levels of confusion, it still hasn’t been easy for election officials.

They don’t know what to expect in terms of participation. In Hamilton County, election officials have yet to predict turnout. In Clermont County, perhaps 25 to 30 percent of voters will turn out, said Stephanie Hemmer-Haight, director of the board of elections.

“With all the confusion, we don’t know what people are going to think,” Hemmer-Haight said.

Chaos has voting rights groups concerned.

“No one has talked about the fact that there’s a primary coming up,” said Jen Miller, executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “Everyone is waiting to see if we’ve pushed back a primary. That means voter registration rates and poll workers are down. That’s concerning.”

Cincinnati-area election officials are scrambling to find election workers. Hamilton County needs to find 500 poll workers to have the 2,200 needed for May 3. That’s a high number as early voting begins, said Hamilton County Board of Elections director Sherry Poland. Normally, at that time, they should find 250 or less, she said.

“We have received feedback from election officials,” said Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. “They were hesitant to confirm because they heard the reports surrounding the primary. There will be a primary.”

Poland and Hemmer-Haight said they are awaiting guidance from the Ohio secretary of state on what notification or notice, if any, they will have at polling places informing voters of the lack of state legislative races.

Congressional races still on

Like state legislative districts, legal matters swirl around the boundaries of congressional districts.

Unlike state districts, Ohio’s congressional primaries will not be pushed back.

The boundaries adopted in the most recent map by lawmakers will remain in effect for at least this election.

Hamilton County will be split between the 8th Congressional District, represented by Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, and the 1st Congressional District, represented by Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood.

The new maps place the western portion of Hamilton County in the Davidson District. This district includes all of Butler County and extends to Davidson’s home, Troy, in Miami County, more than 70 miles north of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati and the eastern half of Hamilton County fall under the Chabot District, which still includes Warren County.

Representative Brad Wenstrup will no longer represent the East Side of Hamilton County. Clermont County will serve as the western edge of the 2nd Congressional District.

Former Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich challenged Davidson in the Republican primary.

Indian Hill Republican Jenn Giroux ran against Chabot in the primary. Giroux, owner of the Madeira Catholic shop and outspoken opponent of abortion, told The Enquirer in March that she was undecided whether she would actually show up, waiting to see the neighborhood boundaries.

She did not return a message seeking comment on Friday.

Democrat Greg Landsman, the Cincinnati city councilman running against Chabot in the November general election, does not have a primary challenger.

Here’s what you need to know for the May 3 primary.

Important appointments

April 4: Deadline to register to vote. Local election commissions will be open until 9 p.m. Monday. You can register online until 11:59 p.m. Monday.

5 April: start of absentee voting by correspondence

April 5: First people to vote in person.

April 30: Deadline to request postal voting

How to vote in person

You can find your polling place by visiting your local county’s electoral board website or the Secretary of State’s Directory.

April Early In-Person Voting Hours

April 5-8: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

April 11-15: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

April 18-22: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

April 25-29: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.

April 30: 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

May Early in-person voting hours

May 1: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.

May 2: 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

How to vote by mail

The deadline for requesting a postal vote is three days before the election. There are three ways to do this.

Complete the online application, print it, and mail it to your local county board of elections

Call the Elections Office and request that an application be mailed to you

Write a letter to the county board of elections with your full name, date of birth, and address where you are registered to vote. A statement identifying the election and indicating that you are qualified to vote is required. A complete list of required information is available on the Secretary of State website.

Absentee ballots must be cast no later than 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Ballots must be postmarked by May 2.

What will be on the ballot?

Local Congress Races

United States House, 1st Congressional District (Hamilton County, Warren County)



  • Steve Chabot (holder)
  • Jenn Giroux

United States House, 8th Congressional District (Hamilton County, Butler County)



  • Warren Davidson (incumbent)
  • Phil Heimlich

United States House, 2nd Congressional District (Clermont County)


  • Alan Darnowsky
  • Samantha Meadows


  • James Condit Jr.
  • Brad Wenstrup (starter)
  • David Windisch

Local primaries

County offices and court races are up for election this year. Many races do not have contested primaries. Here are some notable contested primaries in the May 3 ballot in the Cincinnati area.

Hamilton County Clerk



  • Steve Goodin
  • Raj Rajagopal

Auditor of the County of Clermont



  • Linda Fraley (holder)
  • Tim Rudd

Warren County Commissioner



  • Amy Brewer
  • Tom Grossman (incumbent)

Butler County Auditor



  • Bruce Jones
  • Roger Reynolds (holder)

Statewide races in the next ballot

US Senate

The announcement of the retirement of current US Senator Rob Portman brings with it a vacant seat in the Senate. Here are the candidates appearing on the May primary ballots.


  • Traci “TJ” Johnson, businesswoman
  • Morgan Harper, Lawyer
  • U.S. Representative Tim Ryan


  • Matt Dolan, State Senator
  • Mike Gibbons, businessman
  • Josh Mandel, Former State Treasurer
  • Neil Patel, businessman
  • Mark Pukita, businessman
  • Jane Timken, former chairwoman of the Republican Party of Ohio
  • JD Vance, author and businessman



  • John Cranley, former mayor of Cincinnati
  • Nan Whaley, former mayor of Dayton


  • Joe Blystone, farmer and business owner
  • Governor Mike DeWine (incumbent)
  • Jim Renacci, former congressman
  • Ron Hood, former State Representative.

Attorney General



State Auditor


  • Taylor Sappington, Nelsonville City Auditor


Secretary of State


  • Forest Park Board Member Chelsea Clark


  • John Adams
  • Frank LaRose (incumbent)

State Treasurer


  • Scott Schertzer, Mayor of Marion


  • Robert Sprague (incumbent)

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio



Justice of the Supreme Court of Ohio


  • Judge Terri Jamison
  • Judge Marilyn Zayas


  • Judge Pat DeWine
  • Judge Pat Fischer

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