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The results are in for Tuesday's low-turnout primary in Ohio

ohio voting
Tony Dejak
/
AP
Tuesday night, voter turnout in southwest Ohio was less than 10%, making this the lowest turnout primary on record.

Two highly competitive Democratic contests for Ohio House seats in Hamilton County dominated Tuesday's low-turnout election in southwest Ohio.

It was an election which broke records for low-turnout, with turnout in the four southwest Ohio counties ranging from 6.6% in Clermont County to 9.5% in Butler County.

Hamilton County came in at 8.4%, while Butler County was a tick lower at 8.3%.

In Ohio's 24th Ohio House District, which includes much of the city of Cincinnati, a lawyer and community activist, Dani Isaacsohn, had an easy win over former state representative Dale Mallory with 82% of the unofficial vote count.

Pediatric nurse Rachel Baker, an unsuccessful candidate for Forest Hills school board last fall, defeated former Cincinnati mayoral candidate Gavi Begtrup in Ohio's 27th District, made up of eastern Hamilton County, 62% of the unofficial vote count.

On the GOP side, political newcomer Jenn Giroux, who had to go to court to qualify for the ballot, won easily in a three-way race with 48%, followed by Joe Murray at 40% and Lindsay Cole at 12%.

In northern Hamilton County, former county commissioner Chris Monzel, who will have a rematch with Democratic state representative Jessica Miranda, easily defeated challenger Kim Georgeton in the 28th District with 59%..

State Sen. Bill Seitz is term-limited out of his current seat but is running in the 30th Ohio House District. It was no contest: Seitz won with 82% of the vote.

In Butler County, two Republican state representatives, Sara Carruthers and Thomas Hall, won easily.

Why Ohio held a second primary

This election happened because the Republicans who control the redistricting process in Ohio needed an end-run around the Ohio Supreme Court, which blocked their legislative maps at every turn. A four-member majority of the state court rejected no less than four GOP plans for new state legislative districts, saying they were unconstitutional.

Statehouse Republicans found a group of Ohio GOP voters — headed by Mike Gonidakis, the president of Ohio Right to Life — who filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court here asking the court to essentially take over the state legislative redistricting process.

They ended up with a friendly three-judge panel to hear their case — two of the judges were Trump appointees.

That panel, of course, sided with the plaintiffs, Gonidakis et al, and set an election date of Aug. 2, which Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose (a member of the redistricting commission) argued was the latest date on which a primary could be held without bumping up against the official election calendar of the November election.

The three-judge panel also ruled the state legislative districts to be used for the August primary would be ones which had previously been ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court, not once but twice.

That means Ohio voters go to the polls in both August and November to vote in state and congressional legislative races using maps declared unconstitutional by Ohio's highest court.

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.