More than two weeks after the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional a fourth attempt at establishing Ohio legislative districts, the Ohio Redistricting Commission scheduled a meeting.
That meeting will come two days before the court’s deadline to submit a new set of maps.
A federal court gave the Ohio Redistricting Commission until May 28 to draw state legislative redistricting maps that meet a court order, or it will implement a previously rejected map so the state can hold an Aug. 2 primary.
The three-judge panel, voting 2-1, said it would impose the commission’s third set of maps because the state had started preparing to use those maps before they were declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.
The Ohio Supreme Court rejected a Democrat request to move the state primary to June, while independent map makers told the Ohio Redistricting Commission progress is slow creating a fourth set of state legislative districts.
The Supreme Court left the power to establish election dates and times in the hands of the General Assembly after Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, and House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, filed a motion last week to have the court set a new date.
Ohio voters will not be able to decide on candidates for the state Legislature during the May 3 primary after the state Supreme Court struck down new district maps for the third time.
In a letter to House and Senate leadership and Gov. Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Frank LaRose said it was no longer logistically possible to include district-specific legislative races on the ballots.
The Ohio Redistricting Commission announced it will meet Thursday, the same day as a court-ordered deadline to submit its third effort at state legislative maps.
The meeting comes as the two Democrats on the commission have spent the past two weeks calling for meetings and after Republican State Auditor Keith Faber criticized Democrats for not calling a meeting themselves, despite commission rules that require both co-chairs to make the call.
The Ohio Supreme Court agreed with two Democrats on the Ohio Redistricting Commission and denied a motion from Attorney General Dave Yost to relegate the two to “friend of the court” status in ongoing legal challenges to new state legislative districts.
Commission co-chair Sen. Vernon Sykes, D-Akron, and House Minority Leader Allison Russo, D-Upper Arlington, called Yost’s motion an attempt to silence the two, who had voted against the original maps and ones reconfigured by order of the court.
“I am relieved to see that a fair process is continuing in the courts,” Russo said. “We spoke up for the people against unconstitutional maps, while the Attorney General tried to silence us. AG Yost should not have tried to put his thumb on the scale in this process. Now, we wait the court’s decision on the submitted maps and let the process play out with greater transparency.”
Both Republicans and Democrats are set to win a previously-vacant seat in the House of Representatives after a candidate from each party triumphed in two Ohio special elections Tuesday.
Cuyahoga County Councilmember Shontel Brown beat her Republican opponent overwhelmingly in Ohio’s Cleveland-area 11th District. In the state’s 15th District, which extends southeast from the Columbus suburbs, Trump-endorsed coal lobbyist Mike Carey cruised to victory, defeating Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo.
GOP congressional candidate Mike Carey has jumped right back into campaign mode after besting 10 other candidates on August 3 in a three-month sprint to become the Republican nominee to keep Ohio’s 15th District red with nearly 37 percent of the vote.
The second sprint began the next day, as the November 2 special election to replace five-term Congressman Steve Stivers – and the possibility of May 2022 primary – loom, even as the boundaries of the conservative district covering all or parts of 12 counties could change the political landscape.
The Republican nominee for Ohio’s 15th Congressional District told the Star News Network about his August 3 primary win with 37 percent of the vote, how he decided to run for Congress, and his relationship with President Donald J. Trump.
“The numbers in my race show you that you can have all kinds of endorsements, but when you are supported by President Trump, you win,” said Mike Carey, a native of Sabine, Ohio, and a former president and chairman of the Ohio Coal Association.