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Union Organizer Kelly Wins Democratic Ohio House Primary


Brigid Kelly of Norwood, an organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, had a substantial lead in early ballots cast in the Democratic primary for the 31st Ohio House District.

With 72 of 73 precincts reporting, Kelly, with 35 percent, had a lead of nearly two-to-one over candidate Ben Lindy, with 19 percent. They were trailed by four other Democrats - Paul Booth, Brian Garry and Nicholas Hollan. 

The Democratic ballot in the 31st District was crowded, but there was but one Republican, Mary Yeager, on the ballot.

That fact alone says a lot about the 31st District – it is heavily Democratic.

It is a district that was created because the Republican majority on the Ohio Apportionment Board wanted to draw a West Side district that would be so heavily Republican that incumbent Democratic Denise Driehaus could not run re-election.

In the process, they created the 31st  and Driehaus, who wanted to stay in the legislature, moved from Price Hill to Clifton Heights and later to Clifton so that she could run in 2012 in the newly-created district.

It worked her advantage – she won with 71 percent of the vote in 2012 and 66 percent in 2014.

But now Driehaus is term-limited out and she is instead running for Hamilton County commissioner – taking on the recently appointed Republican Dennis Deters.

That left the 31st District wide open for Democrats and it attracted a large and diverse field of candidates.

The district itself includes Oakley, Madisonville, Evanston, Norwood, Walnut Hills, Mt. Auburn, Corryville, Clifton, University Heights, Clifton Heights, Fairview, part of Hyde Park, north of Northside and all of St. Bernard, Silverton and Amberley Village. 

Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.