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Ohio's 2022 primary election: Who is running and what to know

Primary election takes place on May 3
Ohio election
Posted at 10:36 AM, Apr 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 17:35:02-04

CINCINNATI — Ohio's primary election is May 3 and although state house and state Senate races will be omitted from the ballots because district maps remain unapproved and uncertain, there are still several elections on the ballot for voters to consider.

The following are races in which candidates are not running unopposed for their party; unopposed candidates move on to the general election, so WCPO is highlighting only the races in which there is more than one candidate running. Likewise, independent candidates do not participate in primary elections and will be on the ballot for the general election in November, so they are not represented in this list.

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters can find their polling location here.

You can check live updates for all election results here.

Gubernatorial Primary

Democrat candidates:

John Cranley

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Cranley’s no stranger to Cincinnati. The Price Hill neighborhood native and St. Xavier High School alum served as Cincinnati’s mayor from 2013 to 2022. Cranley touts positive population growth for the first time in 60 years under his leadership, the Milken Institute’s title of best performing city, poverty reduction, and spearheading an effort to invest in solar energy. Cranley picked Sen. Teresa Fedor as his running mate for Lt. Governor.

Cranley leans on his legal experience which includes co-founding and directing the Ohio Innocence Project, which aims to free wrongfully convicted people.

Cranley’s platform points include:

  • Expanding options for early learning
  • Creating 120,000 jobs that pay at least $60,000 a year
  • Legalizing and taxing marijuana
  • Creating access to universal Broadband, Internet, and WiFi

You can read Cranley's full platform, titled "Ohio's Comeback" here. To learn more about Cranley, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Nan Whaley

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Many folks in the Tri-state are also familiar with Whaley. She was elected Dayton’s mayor in 2013. She ran unopposed in 2017. It was the first time in the city’s history where a mayoral race ran uncontested. Whaley became known to a wider audience in 2019, when a shooter killed 9 people and hurt several others at a bar in Dayton. Whaley is the only woman running for Governor in the Democratic and Republican primaries.

Whaley picked Cheryl Stephens as her running mate for Lt. Governor. She is the only candidate in both the Democratic and Republican primaries to have a person of color as a running mate. This is Whaley’s 2nd time running for Governor. She announced her candidacy in 2017, but dropped out in January 2018.

Whaley’s platform points include:

  • Combating corruption
  • Defending a woman’s right to choose
  • Fighting for paid family leave for all Ohioans
  • Investing in Ohio’s Appalachian Communities

You can read Whaley’s full platform here.

To learn more about Whaley you can check out her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Republican candidates include:

Incumbent Mike DeWine

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Gov. DeWine has held office since 2019 and has a long political record. He served as Greene County's prosecutor from 1977 to 1981. From there, he became an Ohio senator, representing the 10th district from 1980 to 1982

He was then elected to congress and represented Ohio's 7th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1983 to 1991. He served as Lt. Governor of Ohio from 1991 to 1994, U.S. Senator from 1995 to 2007 and, most recently, as Ohio's attorney general from 2011 to 2019.

DeWine was endorsed by former President Trump in the 2018 election, but Trump has not endorsed anyone in the Gubernatorial race this year.

DeWine’s platform points mostly tout his accomplishments in office. That includes:

  • Creating jobs by brokering a deal with Intel to invest $20 billion in Ohio
  • Cutting $2.2 billion in taxes, calling it “the largest tax cut in history”
  • Reducing crime by investing millions into law enforcement agencies
  • Signing the heartbeat bill into law, which bans abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected

You can read his full platform and office accomplishments here. To learn more about DeWine, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Joe Blystone

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Blystone brands himself as a “constitutional conservative,” but has no political experience and has never run for public office. He founded Blystone Farm in 2004 and created a non-profit Blystone Agricultural Inc. in 2019 aiming to teach people about food and farming.

Blystone picked author Jeremiah Workman as his Lt. Governor.

Blystone’s platform points include:

  • “Protecting the American Dream”
  • Managing state spending
  • Revising state, local, and business taxes

To learn more about Blystone, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Jim Renacci

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Renacci has a longstanding political background but is recovering from a recent stumble. Renacci served the city of Wadsworth as mayor, city council president, and the Board of Zoning Appeals from 1994 to 2008. From 2011 to 2019, he served as a U.S. Representative from Ohio’s 16th Congressional District. He’s been on the Budget, Ways and Means, and Financial Services committees. In 2018, he lost his senate bid to Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) by just under 7 points. Former President Trump endorsed him for that race. He was the sole Republican to lose statewide that election cycle.

Renacci picked filmmaker Joe Knopp as his Lt. Governor.

Renacci’s platform points include:

  • Using energy resources like coal, natural gas and oil “to their full capabilities”
  • Protecting religious liberties
  • Supporting law enforcement
  • Making Ohio a family destination

You can read more about Renacci's platform here. To learn more about Renacci, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

U.S. Senate Primary

Democrat candidates include:

Morgan Harper

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Harper has never been elected to public office, but she’s no stranger to politics. She served in the Obama Administration as a senior advisor at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Harper’s legal experience is largely focused on consumer protection, but she’s also used her knowledge of the law in the non-profit arena as a director of policy and advocacy at the American Economic Liberties Project, which aims to break up corporate monopolies.

Harper’s platform points include:

  • universal healthcare
  • investing in rural Ohio
  • modernizing public transportation
  • debt-free public education

She also has a jobs plan laid out, which you can read here. To learn more about Harper, you can visit her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Traci "TJ" Johnson

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Johnson has a long history of public service, elected to the position of Franklin County Ward Committee Woman. She held the position for more than 20 years. She’s also worked in several Ohio State offices including the Department of Administrative Services, Office of Budget & Management, Attorney General’s Office, and Environmental Protection Agency.

Johnson currently works as an information technology executive and the president of an IT solutions company. She’s also been hired as a general manager for two major corporations.

Johnson’s platform points include:

  • improving the state’s digital infrastructure
  • restructuring student loans
  • protecting women’s reproductive rights
  • supporting small and minority owned businesses.

Johnson laid out her vision for Ohio titled “Our Plan: New Future For Ohio.” You can read that in full here.

To learn more about Johnson, you can check out her website, Twitter and Facebook.

Tim Ryan

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Ryan is the political juggernaut in this democratic primary, with analysts saying it’s his election to lose. Ryan has served 10 terms as a U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 13th district. Ryan’s touted his passion for the economy, which related to his service on the House Appropriations Committee, which controls federal spending. He’s also the co-chairman of the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus. In previous years, Ryan served in the Ohio State Senate.

Ryan’s platform points include:

  • curbing dependence on foreign oil
  • increasing access to opioid addiction treatment
  • family faming (which he’s written a book about)
  • raising minimum wage

If you’d like to see Ryan’s voting record in comparison to his platform points you can click here.

To learn more about Ryan, you can check out his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Republican candidates include:

Matt Dolan

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Dolan currently serves as an Ohio State Senator representing the 24th district. His term is set to end in December of 2024. In 20204, Dolan was elected to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives, representing the 98th district. Dolan was re-elected twice in 2006 and 2010. In January 2010, he resigned to run for Cuyahoga County executive and lost. He took a break from politics to work in the Cleveland Guardians before his successful campaign for state senator. Dolan has also served as assistant state attorney general and later chief assistant prosecutor for Geauga County.

Dolan’s platform points include:

  • securing the border
  • supporting law enforcement
  • improving water quality
  • strengthening national security

You can read more about his platform here. To learn more about Dolan, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Mike Gibbons

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Gibbons is fairly new to the political realm. He’s more so an entrepreneur, starting his own business at the age of 37. Brown Gibbons Lang & Company provides strategic and financial advice to businesses. He’s also worked as managing partner of the Cleveland Crunch, co-owner of Cheboygan Tap & Tool, and co-owner of Northern Lake Properties.

Gibbons has been a longtime supporter of former President Donald Trump. He served as Trump’s Ohio finance co-chair in 2016. He decided to dive headfirst into politics shortly after that in 2017 with an unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate. He lost to Jim Renacci in the primary, who’s now running against Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine in the Republican Gubernatorial Primary.

Gibbons' platform points include:

  • Healthcare reform through state-based systems
  • Banning critical race theory
  • Instating congressional term limits
  • Ending Roe v. Wade

You can read about Gibbons' full platform here. To learn more about Gibbons, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Josh Mandel

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Mandel is hoping to continue his run of successful campaigns into a winning strategy to nab the win in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate. He’s recently finished two terms as Treasurer of the State of Ohio. He was first elected in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. Mandel also served two terms in the Ohio House of Representatives representing the 17th district from 2007 - 2011. The Marine Corps veteran served on the Veterans Affairs, Public Utilities, Finance and Appropriation, and Alternative Energy Committees. Mandel ran for a U.S. Senate seat in 2018, but withdrew four months before the primary citing his now ex-wife’s health.

Mandel’s platform points include:

  • Defunding Planned Parenthood
  • Advocating for parental choice in education
  • Finishing the U.S/Mexico border wall
  • Expanding rights afforded by the Second amendment

You can read about Mandel's full platform here. To learn more about Mandel, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Neil Patel

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Patel has more of an entrepreneurial background, but has had a taste of the political world.

Patel touts his decades of experience in creating successful business relationships. Patel immigrated to American from India and was granted citizenship in 1994. Patel cites his time working on Sen. Joe Manchin’s transition team is what helped him realize he was a conservative Republican. Patel also serves as a Republican Delaware County Central Committee Member.

Patel’s platform points include:

  • Tax cuts supported by former President Trump
  • Reigning in spending and social programs
  • Reducing spending on elections and simplifying the process of elections
  • Finishing the U.S./Mexico border wall

You can read about Patel's full platform here. To learn more about Patel, you can visit his website and Facebook.

Mark Pukita

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Pukita touts himself as “an authentic Ohio voice, not one of them,” citing his “lower working-class roots.” Pukita started a company called Fast Switch in Columbus in 1996. He ultimately sold most of the business to his executive team.

On his website, Pukita says he was never a fan of Portman’s voting record and decisions.

Pukita’s platform points include:

  • Uniting the U.S. in an “America first vision”
  • Demanding voter IDs
  • Protecting Constitutional rights, particularly the 1st, 2nd, 10th, and 14th amendments
  • Tightening border security

You can read about Pukita's full platform here. To learn more about Pukita, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Jane Timken

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Timken is the only woman running for U.S. Senate in the Republican Primary. Timken is a staunch supporter of former President Donald Trump. Timken was elected vice chairwoman of the Republican Party of Ohio in May 2010, and in 2017 was elected as chairwoman. She’s the first chairwoman of the Ohio GOP. During that time, Trump won the state but lost the election. Timken was endorsed by retiring Sen. Rob Portman.

Timken is a Cincinnati native, but now lives in Stark County.

Timken’s platform points include:

  • Protecting Ohio’s economy through low taxes and less regulation
  • Supporting Ohio’s farmers
  • Returning to “America First” immigration policies
  • School choice

You can read about Timken's full platform here. To learn more about Timken, you can visit her website, Twitter and Facebook.

J.D. Vance

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Vance, who bills himself as a “conservative outsider,” nabbed former President Trump’s endorsement. Despite his negative comments on Trump and his supporters in the past, Trump said in a statement, “[Vance] is our best chance for victory in what could be a tough race.”

Vance is a Middletown native, Marine Corps veteran and was brought to prominence to a wider audience after releasing his book Hillbilly Elegy, which Netflix turned into a movie in 2020.

Vance’s platform points include:

  • Restoring America’s manufacturing base
  • Raising taxes on companies that send jobs overseas
  • Breaking up Big Tech monopolies
  • Addressing inflation

You can read about Vance's full platform here. To learn more about Vance, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Secretary of State Republican candidates

The democrat candidate in this race is running unopposed in the primary and will automatically be on the ballot in the general election in November.

Incumbent Frank LaRose

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LaRose is the incumbent in this race and received the endorsement from former President Trump. The U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret Veteran was elected to the position in 2018. Before that, he served two terms in the Ohio State Senate.

As the incumbent, LaRose’s platform points mostly tout his accomplishments:

  • Securing elections with audits showing a nearly 100% accuracy rate
  • Spearheading legislation creating a civilian “Cyber Reserve” to respond to cyber attacks against the government
  • Advocating for small businesses
  • Advocating for a limited and efficient government

To learn more about LaRose you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

John Adams

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Adams has a long history of public service, representing district 85 in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2007 to 2014. He also served as Majority Whip for six years. Adams ran for the Ohio Senate to represent district 12 in 2016, but was defeated in the Republican primary by Matt Huffman with nearly 64% of the vote.

The Navy SEALs veteran has also served on the Shelby County Republican Central Committee.

Adams platform points include:

  • Ensuring the integrity of Ohio’s elections
  • Promoting "common sense" Voter ID laws

To learn more about Adams, you can visit his website and Facebook.

Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Republican candidates

The democrat candidate in this race is running unopposed in the primary and will automatically be on the ballot in the general election in November.

Steven Goodin

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Goodin is no stranger to Cincinnati politics. He was appointed to City Council after a corruption scandal brought down some of its most prominent councilmembers. His bid for a seat in the 2021 election was unsuccessful. Goodin’s also served on the Hamilton County Regional Planning Commission.

The U.S. Army veteran describes himself as an “experienced litigator” and worked as a prosecutor.

Goodin’s platform points include:

  • Providing easier access to bond information
  • Creating a help center for small businesses who can’t afford attorneys

To learn more about Goodin, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Pakkiri "Raj" Rajagopal

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Rajagopal has a varied resume. He started his venture into public service as a Hamilton County deputy sheriff. He says that helped him make great relationships with judges and learn the intricacies of the court system. In all, Rajagopal has more than 40 years experience in the court system. In 2017, Rajagopal was elected to a four-year term as a Colerain Township Trustee.

In 2012, Rajagopal made a bid for the Ohio House of Representatives in district 29, he was defeated in the Republican primary by Louis Blessing III by nearly 63%.

To learn more about Rajagopal, you can visit his website, Twitter and Facebook.

Clermont County Auditor

Linda Fraley

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Fraley is the incumbent in this race, boasting more than 30 years of experience in accounting and business management. She touts her office receiving the Ohio Auditor of State’s Award of Distinction, with her website citing it’s given to fewer than 5% of all Ohio government agencies. Fraley has also served three four-year terms on the Clermont County Board of Education and served four years as president.

During her last re-election campaign, Fraley faced controversy with allegations of nepotism connected to hiring her stepson in 2002, but they were dismissed in April 2018 by the Clermont County municipal court. It was levied by her competitor in that primary.

To learn more about Fraley, you can visit her website and Facebook.

Tim Rudd

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Rudd has political experience in the county, getting elected as the clerk of municipal court for 18 years. According to Rudd’s website, he was also the bookkeeper for the office that saw anywhere from an upwards of $8 million.

Rudd was also the chair of the Clermont Republican party for 16 years.

To learn more about Rudd you can check out his website.

Warren County Commissioner Republican Primary

The democrat candidate in this race is running unopposed in the primary and will automatically be on the ballot in the general election in November.

Amy Brewer

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Brewer is a fixture in Lebanon where she’s served as mayor for 20 years. Before that, she was elected to city council and served as vice mayor for 12 years. Brewer has also held leadership positions with Main Street Lebanon and Citizens for Quality Lebanon Schools.

Brewer’s platform points include:

  • Supporting law enforcement and first responders
  • Expanding economic development in Warren County
  • Addressing the workforce crisis
  • Make access to mental health resources easier for residents

To learn more about Brewer, you can visit her website and Facebook.

Tom Grossman

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Grossman is the incumbent in this race, serving Warren County commissioner. He was elected in 2014. He won his first ever election in 2001, when he was elected to Mason City Council and served until 2009 and served again from 2011 – 2014. Grossman was also elected Mayor of Mason. He’s served as the chairman of the Warren County Republican Party from 2002-2010.

Grossman also has experience in the private sector working as a lawyer, primarily in corporate law and litigation.

To learn more about Grossman, you can visit his website and Facebook.