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2020 is looking to be a pivotal year in politics. But this year's elections are about much more than the race for the White House. And the coronavirus pandemic is proving to be a complicating factor. WKSU, our colleagues at public radio stations across Ohio and the region and at NPR will bring you coverage of all the races from the national to the local level.

Democrat Monique Smith Is Projected to Win Ohio Statehouse 16th District

Democrat Monique Smith and Rep. Dave Greenspan
Monique T. Smith, Dave Greenspan campaigns
Democrat Monique Smith (left) beat out Republican incumbent state Rep. Dave Greenspan (right) to represent the 16th Ohio House District in Columbus.

Democrat Monique Smith is quietly celebrating her upset win in the Ohio Statehouse’s 16th District, which includes Westlake, Bay Village, Rocky River, North Olmsted and Fairview Park, while awaiting certified election results for her race against incumbent Republican Dave Greenspan.

The unofficial count after the Nov. 3 election has Smith beating Greenspan by 1,180 votes. The 50.8 percent to 49.2 percent margin is a thin one, Smith admits, calling it simply “a close race.”

“I do think it was extremely helpful that my district was leaning toward Biden. We saw that in polling even in the summertime. So that's it, that was a huge factor, no doubt about it,” Smith said. “I'm going to have to work very hard to show the people of this district, no matter what party they're from, that I'm working for them.”

Smith’s campaign sold the candidate to voters on her being an 18-year resident of the West Side, with two children in local public schools.  

“My extended family and former colleagues live in this district and that is a true reflection of the community's sort of values,” Smith said, “I share their life experiences. I tried from Day 1 to communicate that. I think that came through, and I hope it did.”

Greenspan declined ideastream's request for an interview, saying he would wait to comment until after the certified results, which are expected from the Cuyahoga County Board of Election Nov. 18.

In a previous interview, Greenspan, who held the seat for four years, referred to himself as a “practical conservative” who votes in the interest of his district. Greenspan voted against House Bill 6, the controversial nuclear bailout bill at the center of a bribery scandal involving former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder (R-Glenville) and is a primary co-sponsor of legislation to repeal it.

Greenspan refers to the 16th District as “historically split” and pointed to the fact that it’s a place where one might see a Greenspan campaign sign in the same yard as a Biden sign.

Republicans have occupied the 16th District seat since 2008.
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Jenny Hamel is the host of the “Sound of Ideas.”