2018 primary election: low turnout despite big money influence

Adams County Commissioner Brian Baldridge was the winner of the Republican primary on Tuesday in the race for State Representative from the 90th District.

Baldridge looking toward November’s general election – 

By Patricia Beech – 

Adams County voters on Tuesday went to the polls in record-low numbers according to Roy Gabbert, Chairman of the Adams County Board of Elections, who said the primary election went off without a hitch for “all the reasons we don’t like”.
Out of 17,139 registered voters in the county, only 3,445 cast a ballot Tuesday.
“It was an extraordinarily smooth election because we didn’t have a lot of voters,” Gabbert said Tuesday night after the last of the precinct ballots were counted. “There were no lines, no problems came up, but the turnout was historically low.”
In local races, Adams County Commissioner, Brian Baldridge was the winner of the Republican primary in the race for State Representative for Ohio’s 90th District which includes Adams, Scioto, and Lawrence Counties.
While Baldridge was the only candidate to have held office, he nonetheless entered the race with a disadvantage because most of the district’s voters live in Scioto County. He says making his name familiar to the voters in Scioto and Lawrence Counties was the first necessary step in his grassroots campaign.
“We worked in all three counties because we had to get our name recognition up in the district in those areas where people weren’t familiar with us,” Baldridge said by phone on Wednesday. “Election night was a nail-biter, we were tracking the vote and when the numbers started coming in early on I thought if the trend remained the same it wasn’t going to be good, but Adams County really came through for us.”
In the final tally, Baldridge came out on top with 3,452 votes followed closely by Scioto County native Gina Collinsworth with 2,737 votes.
Baldridge says he’s ready to begin campaigning for the upcoming general election in November. He will go up against the Democratic primary winner, Adrienne D. Buckler.
“Our strategy going forward won’t change that much, it’s still a grassroots campaign as far as our willingness to get out there and talk to the people in the 90th district about what’s going on and what they need,” he says. “The difference is we’ve already done the groundwork as far as our name recognition.”
While the 2018 primary was most notable for its nastiness and attack ads produced by untraceable Super PAC “dark money”, Baldridge says he’s hopeful the general election will set a different tone.
“This primary was a little different than anyone expected,” he says. “I’m looking forward to the race and talking about the issues and what each of us brings to the race – at least that’s my hope.”
Hart Wallingford, Chairman of the Adams County Republican party said Baldridge is “the kind of people we need in Columbus.”

Adams County Assistant Prosecutor Kris Blanton fell short in his bid for a seat on the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Tuesday’s primary.

“Brian was clearly the most qualified candidate for the job, and I think he’ll transition easily from County Commissioner to State Representative,” he said, “He’ll be able to go to work the first day accomplishing things for the entire 90th district.”
In the race for Judge of Court of Appeals 4th District, Adams County Assistant Prosecutor Kris Blanton was defeated by Jason P. Smith who won nearly 54 percent of the vote.
Locally, voters in Scott Township said yes to a Cemetery Renewal Levy (213-98), West Union residents voted down a Fire Deparment Levy (220-136), and voters in Brush Creek Township said no to alcohol sales.
Voters across Ohio overwhelmingly approved Issue 1 which calls for a constitutional amendment that will change the way the state draws congressional districts. Issue 1 had support from both Democrats and Republicans and faced virtually no organized opposition.
In other Ohio races: Mike DeWine, with 59.8 percent of votes, will be the Republican candidate for Governor on the November ballot. He’ll face Democrat Richard Cordray, who won the support of 62.3 percent of Democrats; Democrat Steve Dettelbach and Republican Dave Yost will vie for the Attorney General position; for Auditor of the State Democrat Zach Space will go up against Republican Kieth Faber; Democrat Kathleen Clyde will go up against Republican Frank LaRose for the Secretary of State post; and Democrat Rob Richardson and Republican Robert Sprague will compete for the Ohio Treasurer’s seat.
In national races, Republican Jim Renacci will go up against incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in the November general election, and incumbent Republican Congressman Brad Wenstrup will face off against Democrat, Jill Schiller.
In Republican judicial races the winners were: Craig Baldwin for Justice of the Supreme Court; Mary DeGenaro for Justice of the Supreme Court; Jason P. Smith Judge of Court of Appeals 4th District; and Mike Hess for Judge of the Court of Appeals 4th District.
In Democratic judicial races the winners were: Michael P. Donnelly for Justice of the Supreme Court; Melody J. Stewart for Justice of the Supreme Court; Marie Hoover for Judge of the Court of Appeals 4th District; and Valarie K. Gerlach for Judge of the Court of Appeals.
Republicans chose Greg Simpson and Kay Reynolds to serve on the State Central Committee, while Democrats chose Timothy S. Hogan Jr. and Melanie J. Ogg.
The general election will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 6.