2022 Ohio Politics Explained: From the U.S. Senate race to redistricting

by Hannah Turner
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2022 has been a significant year for news, with major events including redistricting, the midterm elections, and the repeal of federal abortion laws.

In this special edition of Ohio Politics Explained, we discuss the major stories we covered.

The USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau’s podcast, Ohio Politics Explained, provides quick updates on the political happenings in the state in under 15 minutes. Reporters Laura Bischoff, Haley BeMiller, and Jessie Balmert joined host Anna Staver this week.

U.S. Senate

1) Is there a map available?

In 2021 and 2022, redistricting was the song that went on forever.

Maps for statehouse and congressional seats were finally used in the election, despite Ohio Supreme Court rulings repeatedly that they violated the state constitution’s anti-gerrymandering provisions. As a result, a second primary to choose candidates for state House and Senate seats in August was expensive and poorly attended.

In the end, the congressional delegation from Ohio changed from 12 Republicans to 4 Democrats to 10 Republicans to 5 Democrats. And in the Ohio Statehouse, Republicans rose to all-time highs.

The struggle continues. Ohio requires updated maps by 2024.

2) Showdown in the US Senate

From the crowded GOP primary to Democrat Tim Ryan’s bid to gain support from supporters of former President Donald Trump, the fight to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Rob Portman was a roller coaster.

J.D. Vance, a venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy,” won the election with a little help from Donald Trump’s endorsement and Peter Thiel’s millions.

The closely watched contest turned into a test of whether Democrats could prevail in Ohio, a former swing state. In the end, Democrats were able to maintain control of the Senate even though Ohio’s Senate seat remained in the red.

3) COVID-19 has a severe impact on schools

After the COVID-19 outbreak and the ensuing school closings, the youngsters are not doing well.

Children who survived the pandemic are now dealing with chronic absenteeism and mental health issues. During the 2021–22 academic year, around 30% of students in Ohio were chronically absent, and this percentage was considerably higher for Black students and urban schools.

According to the annual KIDS, COUNT data book, rates of depression and/or anxiety among children in Ohio increased by 42% between 2016 and 2020.

Expect additional reports in 2023 because these issues won’t be resolved any time soon.

4) Despite Roe v. Wade’s reversal by the US Supreme Court, the debate over abortion continues.

On June 24, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the precedent-setting Roe v. Wade abortion case. After a few hours, Ohio had passed a 2019 law outlawing the majority of abortions.

Pregnant Ohioans were compelled to travel overseas to get abortions because of the statute, which forbade doctors from performing abortions once heart activity is discovered. This includes a 10-year-old Franklin County rape victim whose tale of getting an abortion in Indiana gained her widespread attention.

A court injunction has temporarily put Ohio’s abortion ban on hold, but the debate about when and where abortions can be done will go on until 2023.

Listen to “Ohio Politics Explained” on TuneIn Radio, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. You can get the episode by clicking the link on this page as well.

The Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal, and 18 other allied news companies are all served by the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau.

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