Ohio House: By The Numbers
I have been looking over my list of candidates in Ohio House of Representatives races this year and have compiled some numbers. There are 99 seats, of which 60 are held by Republicans and 39 by Democrats. The Republican seats break down into 44 incumbents and 16 open seats (about 27%), the Democratic seats into 27 incumbents and 12 open seats (about 31%).
Assuming that my information is accurate (there could be a few mistakes), it appears that four Republican incumbents have no opposition of any kind, primary or general election (Rep. Jim Carmichael-3rd, Rep. Bill Seitz-30th, Rep. Bill Coley-55th, and Rep. Joseph Uecker-66th), and one has a primary challenger but no Democratic opponent (Rep. Danny Bubp-88th). This is a big improvement for the Democrats over 2004, when nine Republicans were unopposed in the general election. This year there are no Democratic incumbents without Republican opponents, but there are three Democratic open seats for which there are no Republican candidates (8th, 11th, 60th). This is an even bigger improvement for the Republicans, since there were thirteen Democrats unopposed in 2004, although one of them (Derrick Seaver-78th) switched parties after the election.
Out of 99 races, 59 have no primaries on either side. Of the remaining 40 races, 37 have a primary on one side only, and just 3 (all involving open seats: 32nd, 39th, 78th) have primaries on both sides. Of the 43 total primaries, 27 are between Democrats and only 16 are between Republicans. Thus, although the three contested Republican primaries among the statewide races (Governor, Attorney General and Treasurer) have tarnished the Republicans' reputation for party discipline somewhat, in the context of House races the Democrats are still the more fractious lot. Still, only three of the Democratic primaries involve Democratic incumbents (Rep. Michael Skindell-13th, Rep. Mike Mitchell-26th, and Rep. Brian Williams-41st), the same number as Republican primaries involving Republican incumbents (Rep. Diana Fessler-79th, Rep. Tony Core-83rd, Rep. Danny Bubp-88th), so on that score the two parties fare about the same.
The big disparity in primaries involves open seats. Of the 12 Democratic open seats, 10 have Democratic primaries (8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 14th, 32nd, 39th, 44th, 60th, and 73rd), and those 10 primaries feature a total of 41 candidates. (Three of these 12 Democratic open seats have Republican primaries [32nd, 39th, 61st], and one has no primary on either side [49th]). Of the 16 Republican open seats, only 8 (or one half) have Republican primaries (5th, 58th, 67th, 74th, 75th, 76th, 78th, and 91st), involving a total of 24 candidates. (Five of the 16 Republican open seats have Democratic primaries [4th, 16th, 21st, 43rd, and 78th], and 4 have no primary on either side [1st, 17th, 71st, and 69th]). Looking at it another way, Democratic primaries are about equally divided between Democratic seats (13) and Republican seats (14), but Republican squabbling is weighted more heavily toward seats they are defending (11) than seats they hope to pick up (5).