Ten major-party candidates for governor.
A half-dozen for U.S. Senate.
At least 15 for Pat Tiberi’s former congressional seat.
Contests in almost every one of the 116 state legislative races on the ballot.
Ohio has never seen a political year like this in modern history. It’s a product of term limits, a rare open congressional seat, and a new fervor in both parties to let no seat go unchallenged.
Competition for state legislative seats is especially heavy this year. That's fueled not only by both parties' renewed desire to minimize the number of uncontested seats, but also by an intense struggle to become the next speaker of the House between GOP Reps. Larry Householder and Ryan Smith that is manifesting itself in several Republican primary battles in legislative districts across Ohio. Current Speaker Cliff Rosenberger must depart due to term limits.
Democrats say they will have candidates in every state legislative race, something they didn't come close to achieving two years ago.
The gubernatorial candidates who filed already include two Republicans, Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, and eight Democrats: former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Richard Cordray, former exotic dancer Larry Ealy of Dayton, Cleveland Dr. Jon Heavey, former Congressman and Cleveland Mayor Dennis Kucinich, ex-Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O'Neill of Chagrin Falls, former state Rep. Connie Pillich of suburban Cincinnati, political unknown Paul Ray of Alliance and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman.
Constance Gadell-Newton has filed to run as governor as a Green Party candidate, the only minor party hopeful on the ballot.
Of course, even though the filing deadline has passed, elections officials have until Feb. 19 to validate petition signatures and confirm whether the candidates have officially qualified for the ballot.
Candidates who have filed for other statewide offices:
Attorney General: Steve Dettelbach, Democratic former U.S. attorney for northern Ohio; Dave Yost, Republican state auditor.
Auditor: Keith Faber, Republican state representative from Celina; Kelli Prather, Cincinnati Democrat who ran for U.S. Senate in 2006 and Cincinnati City Council last year; Zack Space, former Democratic congressman from Dover.
Secretary of State: Kathleen Clyde, Democratic state representatives from Kent; Frank LaRose, Republican state senator from Hudson.
Treasurer: Sandra O’Brien, Republican former Ashtabula County auditor; Robert Sprague, Republican state representative from Findlay; Neil Patel, Westerville Democrat; Rob Richardson, Cincinnati Democrat.
Supreme Court, six-year term beginning Jan. 1: Judge Craig Baldwin, Licking County Republican on the 5th District Court of Appeals; Judge Michael Donnelly, Democrat on Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Supreme Court, six-year term beginning Jan. 2 — Justice Mary DeGenaro, Youngstown Republican; Judge Melody Stewart, Democrat from the state appeals court covering Cuyahoga County.
U.S. Senate: Melissa Ackison, Marysville Republican; frequent candidate Don Elijah Eckart; Mike Gibbons, suburban Cleveland Republican; Dan Kiley, Republican from southwest Ohio; U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, Wadsworth Republican; U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Democrat from Lorain County.
Congressional contests popped up all across the state.
For example, in southern Ohio, Rep. Steve Chabot, R–Cincinnati, faces a challenge from Democrat Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval. Republican Samuel Ronan has also filed petitions in that district.
Also in southwest Ohio, five Democrats have filed petitions to challenge Ohio’s newest member of Congress: Bill Ebben of West Chester; Vanessa Enoch of West Chester, Matthew Guyette of Greenville, Stephen D. Shaw of Greenville and Ted Jones of Piqua all hope to unseat Rep. Warren Davidson, a Troy Republican who is unchallenged in the primary.
Rep. Jim Jordan of Urbana, meanwhile, faces challenges from one Republican and four Democrats: Democrats Norbert G. Denneril, Jr. of Elyria, Janet Garrett of Oberlin, Leah Sellers of Marysville, Cody James Slatzer-Rose of New Albany and Republican Joseph Miller of Marion all have filed to challenge Jordan, a Republican.
In the Dayton area, Rep. Mike Turner, R–Dayton, faces challenges from Republicans John Mitchel of Beavercreek and John Anderson of Enon and Democrats Theresa Gasper of Beavercreek, Robert Klepinger of Dayton and Michael Milisits of Huber Heights, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
In northeast Ohio, Rep. Bob Gibbs, R–Lakeville, faces challenges from both parties: Republican Terry Robertson of Medina and Patrick Quinn of Mount Vernon and Democrats Ken Harbaugh of Avon and Patrick Pikus of Canton have filed to challenge him. And in the adjacent 13th District, represented by Rep. Tim Ryan, D–Niles, Democrats John Luchansky, Robert Crow and Republican Christopher DePizzo have also filed petitions to run, according to the Summit County Board of Elections.
In the Statehouse, both House and Senate Democrats said they will field candidates in every legislative seat.
They include Rachel Crooks, a former Trump Tower receptionist who got national attention when she accused President Donald Trump of forcibly kissing her in 2005. She is running in the 88th House District against two-term Rep. Bill Reineke, R-Tiffin.
Republicans are trying to hold onto their record majorities, 24-9 in the Senate and 66-33 in the House.
A handful of Franklin County seats are among those where Democrats hope to make gains, including the open 3rd Senate District, where Rep. Anne Gonazles, R-Westerville, hopes to switch chambers. She will be challenged by Democrat Nathan Dowds of Columbus, an Army veteran now working with AEP and the Truman Defense Council.
In the open 24th House District, Democrats Mary Relotto and Allison Russo will square off, with the winner facing Republican Erik Yassenoff.
The open 19th House District has primaries in both parties — Democrats Noni Banks and Mary Lightbody will face off, as will Republicans Tim Barhorst and David Ferguson.
In the open 21st House District, Republican Stu Harris will face the winner of a Democratic primary between Beth Liston and Mindy Yocum.