The Exponent’s guide to the midterm elections

The Exponent’s politics team takes a look at some major storylines both local and statewide taking shape ahead of next Tuesday’s high-stakes elections.


Courtesy of WJW-TV Fox 8

Ohio candidates for U.S. Senate Rep. Tim Ryan (D) and J.D. Vance (R) attempted to tone down references to hot-button issues at an October debate.

With the 2022 midterm elections fast approaching, Ohio is proving its reputation as a battleground state. While the closely contested U.S. Senate race between Rep. Tim Ryan (D) author J.D. Vance (R) is making national headlines, it’s just one of several important races this November. The Exponent has assembled a guide of some of the most interesting stories to watch here in Berea and across the state of Ohio.

Statewide Races and Issues to Watch

  • U.S. Senate

Candidates: Rep. Tim Ryan (Democrat) vs. J.D. Vance (Republican)

J.D. Vance, a Republican, and Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat, are running for the senate to replace current Republican Senator Rob Portman who will be retiring at the end of 2022. In an October survey conducted by Baldwin Wallace University Community Research Institute, while still within the margin of error, Ryan was in a 4-point lead over Vance. However, in a more recent poll conducted by Cygnal, Vance maintained a 5-point lead over Ryan. Vance said at a debate on Oct. 17 that he agrees with Senator Lindsey Graham’s proposal for a federal ban on abortions after 15 weeks, and has not explicitly said he supports any exceptions other than when the mother’s life is in danger. On the other hand, Ryan said he supports codifying the protections established under Roe v. Wade, which protected abortion access until viability. Vance also said he would not vote to codify same-sex marriage, but said that gay marriage is “the law of the land,” a fact that he does not want to change. However, Vance has made controversial comments on other LGBTQ+ issues, including transgender students in schools. In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Vance argued that some young students are being indoctrinated and pushed into being transgender because – referring to teachers – a “crazy lunatic is pushing this on them.” On Ryan’s campaign website, he said he supports legislation to make schools have rules that ban bullying or harassment on the basis of gender identity. –Simon Skoutas, Managing Editor

  • Governor of Ohio

Candidates: Nan Whaley (Democrat) vs. Gov. Mike DeWine* (Republican) 

Republican Mike DeWine is so far slated to easily overcome Democrat Nan Whaley, former mayor of Dayton, in the Ohio governor’s race. DeWine has been Governor of Ohio since 2019 and notably supported gun control legislation that eases firearm restrictions, as well as signing a controversial law that allowed the arming of school employees. DeWine believes that the background check systems are missing important details such as past convictions, active protection orders and open warrants. He also supports increased penalties for illegal gun possession. Whaley wants to repeal these laws and increase background checks and other gun control measures. She also has made codifying abortion access a centerpiece of her campaign, in contrast with DeWine, who as governor signed a six-week abortion ban into law. Whaley has championed education reforms like increasing funding for Ohio’s colleges, supporting programs that provide universal schooling to young children and reducing the cost burden of childcare for parents. In addition to the law allowing school districts to optionally arm teachers, DeWine has increased spending for school security for the purposes of protection against attacks, while still maintaining his positions on gun control.

Whaley has also criticized DeWine for signing a state budget that included a clause allowing healthcare workers, hospitals and health insurance companies to refuse to cover or provide medical services to individuals based on personal or religious beliefs, including refusing service to LGBTQ+ individuals. Hannah Wetmore, Managing Editor

  • Ohio Secretary of State

Candidates: Chelsea Clark (Democrat) vs. Frank LaRose* (Republican) vs. Terpsehore Maras (Independent)

The Ohio secretary of state is responsible for administering election laws, reviewing ballot initiatives and overseeing the election process. Being the first election for the post since the 2020 presidential election, allegations of election fraud have been an issue in this race. Two of the three candidates in the race, incumbent Republican Frank LaRose and independent Terpsehore Maras, have publicly questioned the legitimacy of President Joe Biden’s victory. (Former President Donald Trump’s own former Attorney General, Bill Barr, and other government authorities have repeatedly maintained that there was no widespread voter fraud.) Maras, a podcast host with ties to the QAnon conspiracy movement, endured a court battle over whether she had sufficient signatures to appear on the ballot but was cleared to run by the Ohio Supreme Court. She has repeatedly pushed the premise that there was fraud in the 2020 election, prioritizing “restoring election integrity” on her campaign website. LaRose himself, who has overseen Ohio’s voting processes as Secretary of State since 2019, claimed that he believes there were “shenanigans” in the 2020 election. LaRose worked in the Ohio state legislature for two terms as a senator before becoming secretary of state. The Democratic candidate, Chelsea Clark, says on her campaign donation website that she will “fight like hell against the G.O.P. who are actively sabotaging our voter rights.” Her campaign has vowed to end voter suppression, expand early voting, institute same-day voter registration and protect against foreign meddling in elections. –Chris Moran, Staff Writer

  • U.S. House of Representatives District 7

Candidates: Matthew Diemer (Democrat) vs. Max Miller (Republican) 

Riding the wave of former President Donald Trump’s endorsement, Max Miller of Shaker Heights cruised to victory in the June Republican primary for Ohio’s 7th district in the U.S. House of Representatives. The recently redrawn congressional district, which includes western and southern parts of Cuyahoga County, saw the seat open following the retirement of Bob Gibbs, one of the few Republican representatives to vote in favor of Trump’s second impeachment in 2021. Trump casts a shadow over the race: Miller served in the former president’s White House administration and was subpoenaed by the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot – something Miller’s opponent, Democrat Matthew Diemer, has been quick to point out. Last July, Politico reported allegations that Miller was physically abusive to his ex-girlfriend and fellow former White House aid, Stephanie Grisham. Miller has denied the accusations. Miller holds a multi-point lead over Diemer in recent polls, with data-driven news outlet FiveThirtyEight projecting an easy Republican victory. –Justin McMullen, Executive Editor

  • Ballot Initiative: Issue 2

Issue 2 would amend the Ohio Constitution to bar non-U.S. citizens from voting in local elections if they are not legally approved to vote in state elections. The issue was proposed out of a joint resolution of the General Assembly following a 2019 referendum approved by the voters of the Village of Yellow Springs in Greene County allowing noncitizens to vote in their local elections so long as they were residents. (Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State, Frank LaRose, stopped the referendum from taking effect by ordering Greene County to deny voter registration forms from non-citizens and has been a proponent of Issue 2.) Berea’s charter already requires voters in municipal elections to be citizens. In an issue argument certified by proponents said that “allowing noncitizens to vote degrades the value of United States citizenship and is poor public policy.” Critics have argued that if passed, the amendment could take away 17-year-olds’ right to vote in primary elections. Critics also accused the issue of being backed by out-of-state special interests and took issue with the requirement that citizens register to vote 30 days before the election, which they say is sooner than any other state’s requirements. –Skoutas

The Local Angle

  • Issue 5: Cleveland Metroparks tax levy renewal

The Cleveland Metroparks tax levy, an increase of 27 cents for each $100 of property valuation, is a replacement tax to maintain the Cleveland Metropolitan Parks District including the Zoo. The purpose of the tax is to conserve the national resources of the parks. Funds would be allocated to maintain, repair, and improve the parks as well as to plan, acquire, develop, protect, and promote the use of existing and future lands for facilities. –Wetmore

  • Issue 5: Berea tax levy renewal

Issue 22 concerns a tax levy renewal to fund improvements to the Berea water plant, which processes the city’s drinking water, and updates to other areas of the city’s water system. Berea’s finance director Andrea Morris said to that “the current cost to a homeowner based on a home value of $100,000 is $42.80 and is expected to remain around the same amount with the renewal.” If approved, the tax will be renewed for five years. The last time the tax levy was on the ballot was in 2017 when voters approved its renewal by a 2,953 to 970 margin. The levy was first approved by voters in 2007. –Skoutas

  • Ohio House of Representatives District 17

    State Representative Tom Patton (R-Strongsville) speaks with students at a College Republicans event on Oct. 6. (Simon Skoutas)

Candidates: Troy Greenfield (Democrat) vs. Rep. Tom Patton* (Republican)

Ohio House of Representatives District 17 encompasses Brook Park, Middleburg Heights, Fairview Park, Strongsville and a portion of Cleveland. The race in this newly drawn district pits incumbent Republican Rep. Tom Patton against Democrat Troy Greenfield to determine the district’s next representative for the state House. Patton has served two terms in the Ohio Senate and three terms in the Ohio House for a total of 12 years of experience in the statewide legislature. In an event hosted by Baldwin Wallace College Republicans, Patton efforted to set himself apart from other Republicans, boasting of his endorsements from labor unions. He also highlighted that despite his anti-abortion views, he did not vote for the “heartbeat bill,” which restricted abortion after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, even for those who are victims of rape or incest. Greenfield, an educator and business owner, has taken more liberal stances on abortion and gun rights on her campaign website. Greenfield has campaigned against abortion restrictions, and a section of her website regarding gun laws states, “We cannot allow our state to be overcome by guns in the hands of unsafe and untrained individuals.” Moran

  • Cuyahoga County Executive

Candidates: Chris Ronayne (Democrat) vs. Lee Wingart (Republican)

Republican Lee Weingart and Democrat Chris Ronayne are running for Cuyahoga County Executive. Cuyahoga County was found by the Plain Dealer to be the most reliably Democratic of all Ohio counties in the past six presidential elections. Armond Buddish, a Democrat and current County Executive, has held the seat since 2015. The position, with a four-year term and no term limits, was created 12 years ago following a corruption scandal involving former county commissioner Jimmy Dimora. As part of Weingart’s campaign, he has advocated freezing all property taxes for senior citizens and instituting a new countywide municipality that would collect a unified income tax – which would shut down the Regional Income Tax Agency. At a debate hosted by the City Club of Cleveland, Weingart argued for his proposed Community Health Equity Fund that would be funded by a voluntary property tax on hospitals that currently do not pay property tax. Plans for Cuyahoga County’s new jail have recently been put on hold until a new executive is in place. Ronayne wants to renovate the existing jail and consider a new site for a facility whereas Weingart is in favor of building smaller jails to replace the aging facility. Skoutas

It’s not too late to make your plans to vote in the midterm elections. Whether you’re voting in person or absentee, The Exponent has an online guide to all the last-minute steps you may need to make your voice heard this November. Click here or go to

Correction: A previous version of this article misspelled the name of Ohio secretary of state candidate Terpsehore Maras. It is Maras, not Mahas. The Exponent regrets the error.