Building the bench: Ohio Dems win big at the local level in 2019
Ohio Democrats won big on Election Night 2019 — here’s what this means for 2020 and beyond.
There are no “off-year elections” for Ohio Democrats, and the 2019 elections will help us build an impressive bench of local candidates that can make change in their communities.
BIG CITIES, BIG WINS
It’s clear that Ohio’s major cities remained Democratic strongholds with Democratic mayors serving in every single one of the top 10. In and outside of major hubs, tons of Democratic candidates were re-elected.
But Akron wasn’t the only big city to sweep — Democrats won every single elected seat in Parma, the seventh-largest city in Ohio.
It’s clear the suburbs, which Republicans used to rely on, are shifting purple, or even outright blue. Some of the most impressive wins from Tuesday’s election were two suburbs where Dems swept the election.
In Reynoldsburg, Democrats took the mayor’s race and all of the council seats up for election.
Suburbs of Ohio’s major cities — Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati and Toledo — are all seeing more Dems elected, some for the first time in decades.
Even in the suburbs of Columbus that didn’t sweep, there were tons of pickups and newly elected Democrats.
Cleveland suburbs held strong, re-electing Democratic candidates all across the ballot.
“What was telling to me was what happened in the Cincinnati suburbs. I think in the suburbs, educated suburban women are increasingly unhappy with the direction of the country, and I think that showed last night,” Sherrod Brown said to the Toledo Blade.
Near Toledo, Bowling Green has a new Democratic mayor, Mike Aspacher, who ran unopposed. Perrysburg flipped its city council from red to blue; Perryburg went for Trump in 2016.
VICTORIES IN RED OHIO
There were also lots of Democrats elected in rural areas, including some deep red parts of Ohio like Norwalk and Coshocton!
ELECTING CANDIDATES THAT REPRESENT OHIO … ALL OF OHIO
So many of these great candidates elected on Tuesday are creating a more diverse bench — one that can represent Ohioans better. Women, young people, people of color and LGBTQ+ candidates are adding much-needed voices to their local governments.
Dozens of Young Dems were elected, and many of them were running for the first time or are now serving as the youngest person ever in that position.
Reynoldsburg made history on Tuesday, electing three African-American women to city council and the first-ever Nepali-Bhutanese elected official in the entire country.
Reynoldsburg has a rapidly growing Nepali-Bhutanese community, who helped elect former refugee Bhuwan Pyakurel to city council. “So this is a really big deal for me and the community of Reynoldsburg,” Pyakurel said to WOSU.
Successful LGBTQ+ candidates like Sheena Barnes in Toledo and Taylor Sappington of Nelsonville — a town that went from Obama to Trump — mark a change in Ohio politics.
Sheena is a first-time candidate and a mother, who wants to create equity in Toledo schools. She’s bringing her voice to her new position on the school board.
African-Americans are showing up and representing their communities.
The labor movement also made an impact, backing more than 50 union members in local races, including Theresa Gadus, a Toledo Public Schools teacher who appears to have defeated her Republican opponent for city council — by 20 votes.
Nearly two-thirds of the Ohio AFL-CIO’s candidates won on Election Night.
All of these wins are cause for celebration! Now we need to use this momentum to take on Trump in 2020. Join Project Battleground on Facebook to get updates on Democrats up and down the ballot.