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Voters Casting Ballots In 15th Congressional District Primary

Ohio I Voted Sticker
Karen Kasler
Ohio Public Radio

It’s Election Day in one Central Ohio congressional district, where voters are using a special primary election to pick the candidates who will face off in November.

The 15th Congressional district seat is currently empty after Rep. Steve Stivers left his seat to lead the Ohio Chamber of Commerce. Eleven Republicans are competing for the nomination in the GOP-friendly district, which stretches from southwest Union County to Athens.

Republican candidates include State Rep. Jeff LaRe, who has been endorsed by Stivers. The Lancaster-area lawmaker previously worked in law enforcement. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist. Carey has raised the most money in the race.

Other GOP candidates include, in alphabetical order:

  • John Adams, owner of Green Valley Chemicals
  • Eric M. Clark, nurse at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base
  • Thad Cooperrider, former Perry County Commissioner
  • Ruth Edmonds, former church relations director at the Center for Christian Virtue
  • Ron Hood, former state representative
  • Thomas Hwang, owner of The Virtues Golf Club
  • State Sen. Stephanie Kunze
  • State Sen. Bob Peterson
  • Omar Tarazi, Hilliard City Council member

On the Democratic side, only two candidates are running for the seat. They are retired U.S. Army Col. Greg Betts, who served several combat tours in the Middle East and State Rep. Allison Russo of Upper Arlington.

Polls open Tuesday morning at 6:30am. The winners from the primary election will compete to serve the final year of Stivers' term in the November election.

The district serves around half of Franklin County as well as all Clinton, Fairfield, Hocking, Madison, Morgan, Perry, Pickaway and Vinton counties and portions of Athens, Fayette, and Ross counties. The makeup of the district could be impacted by the upcoming redistricting process.

The district was been controlled by Republicans since 1967 with the exception of Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy holding the seat from 2009-11.

In the Cleveland area, voters are casting ballots in another special primary election Tuesday. Voters in the 11th Congressional district primary are determining candidates for the November election for the seat vacated by now Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge. While there are 13 people on the ballot in the heavily Democratic district, Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair Shontel Brown and former Ohio Senator Nina Turner are considered the front runners.