Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Ratings Change in 3 Ohio House Races

Every four years, Ohio revels in the spotlight of the battle for the presidency. But, after the last round of redistricting, the Buckeye State is slipping further into irrelevance in the fight for the House.

Now, just two Ohio districts rank in the top 50 of most competitive House races across the country. That’s a far cry from 2010, when a half-dozen Ohio districts were competitive.

Democratic chances have improved in Ohio’s 6th District, where Jennifer Garrison is the likely nominee against Rep. Bill Johnson. Garrison has a reputation as a conservative Democrat, which will be necessary in an eastern Ohio district along the border with West Virginia. The 6th District is now rated Lean Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Democratic chances have slipped in the 7th and 14th districts.

It’s clear that Democrats are not focused on getting a top challenger to Rep. Bob Gibbs. The incumbent was first elected in 2010 but was re-elected easily in 2012 with 56 percent. And Mitt Romney carried the district by 10 points, so it is not a particularly attractive opportunity for any Democrat. The 7th District is now rated Safe Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

Democrats have a candidate in Ohio’s 14th District, but some strategists don’t believe attorney Michael Wager is the right recruit against GOP Rep. David Joyce. Getting another Democrat into the race won’t be easy, since Wager has close connections with Sherrod Brown. But that hasn’t stopped some Democrats from looking. Romney carried the district with 51 percent, even though he received 48 percent statewide. The 14th District is now rated Lean Republican by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call.

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