9 mins read
By Julie Frontera


After going for Obama in 2008 and 2012, Ohio took a sharp turn to the right in 2016, giving Trump a win by 8 points. 

In 2018, while other states saw substantial Democratic gains, each party held their own. The Republicans kept their Governorship, Democrats kept their Senate seat, and not a single Congressional race switched hands. Even the State Legislature nearly split the difference, with Democrats gaining 5 State House seats and Republicans gaining 1 State Senate seat.

So why would 2020 be any different than 2016?

Because Donald Trump failed on his Covid response, Joe Biden is the Democratic nominee, and the Ohio Republican Party has found itself in the midst of a massive scandal.

With the Presidential race at the top of the ticket – and polls showing it as a toss-up – the entire ballot is impacted and anything becomes possible.

Here are the 7 big reasons why Ohio matters this year.


With Ohio’s rightward lurch in 2016, I wasn’t expecting Ohio to be as competitive as it has become this year. But then Joe Biden became the Democratic nominee and suddenly Ohio was back in play.

Of all of the Democratic candidates for President, Joe Biden probably represented the best opportunity to make this state flippable again. Perhaps it’s his moderate nature or perhaps it’s his association with Barack Obama.

Either way, Donald Trump is now being forced to fight for a state that he thought would be in the bag, and that is good news for us.


We can’t do anything about the GOP’s control of Ohio’s Executive Branch. At best we can make a good dent in the GOP’s control of Ohio’s Legislative Branch.

But in 2020 we can actually flip Ohio’s Judicial Branch.

The Ohio State Supreme Court is made up of 7 Justices. 4 are Republicans and 3 are Democrats.

2 of the 7 Justices – both Republicans – are up for election this year. Each has a great Democratic opponent, and if we flip both we will take a Majority of the court.

These are statewide elections, so you must vote for both Democrats: Jennifer Brunner and John P. O’Donnell.

A Democratic-controlled court may be the last/best defense Democrats have in this state.

In addition, the Ohio District Courts of Appeals is holding 21 elections across 12 Districts, and many of those elections feature Democratic contenders.


When the Speaker of a State House gets indicted, you know things are corrupt.

And that’s exactly what happened this summer when Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder found himself charged in a massive $61 Million bribery scheme that resulted in a lobbyist-influenced legislation being overturned.

This Republican-centered scandal rocked the state and may have left the State Legislature more vulnerable than most pundits were anticipating.

The Ohio State House is made up of 99 seats. All 99 seats are up for election this year. Republicans currently hold 61 seats while Democrats hold 38 seats. Democrats would need a net gain of +12 seats in order to flip the chamber. 

Before I list the vulnerable districts, just know that Ohio is a heavily gerrymandered state in favor of the Republicans. Many of 16 Districts that I am deeming ‘flippable’ would be steep climbs. But in a climate of Republican corruption, anything might be possible.

The Districts to focus on are 3, 7, 16, 23, 27, 36, 41, 43, 47, 52, 55, 59, 61, 67, 89, and 94

If we do get lucky, Democrats would have a say in the 2021 redistricting that would otherwise be controlled solely by Republicans.

You can find a map of the Ohio State House Districts here.


The Ohio State Senate is made up of 33 seats. Republicans hold 24 of those seats and Democrats hold 9. Of the 33 seats, only *16* of those seats are up for election. Democrats would need a net gain of +8 seats in order to flip the chamber, and that is a really tall order in 2020.

Our best opportunities to flip seats right now are in Districts 2, 6, 8, 16, 18, and 24.

You can find a map of the Ohio State Senate Districts here.


One thing that was particularly disappointing in the 2018 election was the inability of Democrats to flip any Ohio Congressional seats while managing to flip seats in places like Utah, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.

But this year Democrats have another chance, and there are four seats that are worth watching.

Ohio’s 1st Congressional District represents our best opportunity to flip a seat with Democrat Kate Schroder vying to defeat Steve Chabot in this Cincinnati-area district. Chabot barely won in 2018, and 2020 won’t be any easier.

In Ohio’s 10th Congressional District, Democrat Desiree Tims is vying to defeat Mike Turner, a Republican who has recently found himself at the center of a political scandal involving the misuse of $90,000 worth of campaign contributions for travel and meals. This Dayton-area seat could very well flip.

In the Columbus-area Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, Democrat Alaina Shearer is running to unseat Troy Balderson, a Republican who barely eked out a victory in both a 2018 Special Election and the subsequent 2018 November Election just 3 months later.

And in Ohio’s 14th Congressional District, Democrat Hillary O’Connor Mueri is running to defeat David Joyce, a Republican who saw a significant drop-off in his vote totals from 2016 and 2018, which makes sense given the district’s proximity to Cleveland.


There are important elections in cities and counties all over Ohio, including Toledo, Cuyahoga, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, and Lucas.

Read about them all here.


The Ohio State Board of Education is made up of 19 members. Of the 19 members, 8 are appointed by the Governor, and 11 are selected by the people. And of those 11 members, 5 are up for election in 2020.

It’s important that we win all of these seats as the State Board has an automatic GOP-tilt thanks to 10 years of Republican Governors.

The seats are ‘non-partisan’, so it’s not easy to discern who best to vote for at first, so in a situation like this I always advise that you conduct your own research. But based on my research, the Democratic-endorsed candidates are:

District 5 – Christina Collins

District 6 – Antoinette Miranda 

District 9 – Michelle Newman

District 10 – Mary Binegar 

District 11 – Meryl Johnson

Thanks for reading about why Ohio matters so much this year. I hope you found this post to be informative and useful!

For further analysis and election info, please feel free to follow me on Twitter at @TrumpsTaxes.

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