Ohioans Give Kasich His First Primary Win, While Democrats Deliver For Clinton And Strickland

The Ohio Supreme Court says the state can try again to execute a condemned killer who’s the only person in the United States to survive an execution attempt by lethal injection. The Court also upheld the definition of “employee” under state law in a dispute over whether outside sales representatives who were paid on commission must be paid minimum wage. And a former head of the Ohio prisons department who became an advocate against the death penalty passed away suddenly this week.

The biggest news this week was the Ohio primary. And John Kasich's record of never losing an election in Ohio remains intact, as Ohioans gave Kasich his first presidential primary win. Kasich celebrated in Berea after spending the days leading up to the primary in Ohio - at one point being joined by former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Kasich’s win, and Marco Rubio’s exit from the race after losing his home state of Florida, means there are only three candidates in the race: Kasich, Trump and Ted Cruz, who had made his first official campaign visit to Ohio just two days before the primary.

Kasich had said several times he would win Ohio or quit the race, and experts had wondered why winning Ohio was proving a challenge to Kasich, given his favorable rating in polls for months, especially as compared to Donald Trump, who had been leading in surveys up until about a week before the vote. Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges said the final result was no real surprise to him.

On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton ended up the winner in a contest that turned out to be less dramatic than polling suggested it might be. Both Clinton and Bernie Sanders were in Ohio the Sunday before the primary, after campaigning throughout Ohio in the days before. Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper said he was pleased with the turnout, but notes the outcome was a bit unexpected.

There had been widespread reports of Democrats asking for Republican ballots to cast votes for John Kasich instead of Donald Trump – and voters who were saying they’d done it, and were asking friends to do it as well. But Secretary of State Jon Husted said there was no proof on election day that was happening, though his staff may be able to answer the question of how many registered Democrats switched their party affiliation to Republican by asking for the other party’s ballot.

While the presidential contest got most of the attention in this primary – there were also battles for the US Senate seat on this fall’s ballot. Incumbent Republican Rob Portman easily won his primary, with eight out of ten Republican voters choosing him over challenger Don Elijah Eckhart. In the Democratic three-way contest for Senate, former Gov. and endorsed candidate Ted Strickland also easily won, getting 65 percent of the vote over his two challengers, Cincinnati City Councilman PG Sittenfeld and Cincinnati occupational therapist and activist Kelli Prather.

In other contests on the primary ballot, there were no big surprises in the 16 races for Congress – especially since there were no contested primaries in six of them. In the Ohio House, there were no primary contests in 63 of 99 districts, and in 17 races, the primary winners will take office next year since they have no opponents this fall. In the Senate, there were no primary contests in nine of 16 districts. Six state lawmakers won their bids to return to their communities and hold local offices. And on the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor remains, having had no primary opponent and no Democratic challenger this fall.  Republicans Pat Fischer and Pat DeWine will face Democrats John O’Donnell and Cynthia Rice, respectively.

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