Prizm News / November 7, 2018 / By Bob Vitale
Democrat Nickie Antonio poses with supporters at her victory party in Lakewood. (photo courtesy of Erik Meinhardt via Facebook)

Sherrod Brown and Nickie Antonio win, but other Democrats and LGBTQ candidates fall short in federal and state races.


By Bob Vitale 

The blue wave that swept Democrats back into power in the U.S. House failed to make even a splash in Ohio on Tuesday, and the hoped-for rainbow wave didn’t materialize either. 

Ohioans re-elected LGBTQ ally Sherrod Brown to the U.S. Senate but chose anti-equality die-hard Mike DeWine as governor. Republicans who’ve stymied LGBTQ civil-rights measures at the state level kept their stranglehold on the Ohio General Assembly, and the GOP held all 12 of its Ohio congressional seats. 


The bright spot: Democrat Nickie Antonio of Lakewood, who in 2010 became the first LGBTQ Ohioan elected to the state House, on Tuesday became the first LGBTQ Ohioan elected to the state Senate. 

Antonio, who has introduced LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination legislation each year she has served in the state legislature, won 65 percent of the vote in her Cuyahoga County district. She defeated Republican Steve Flores. 

Ten other LGBTQ candidates on this year’s ballot didn’t fare as well, although each ran against sitting Republicans in

Rick Neal, a former foreign aid worker from Columbus, fell short in his bid to become Ohio’s first out LGBTQ member of Congress. The Democrat won 63 percent of the vote in Athens County, came within 900 votes in Franklin County, but won no more than a third of the vote anywhere else in the 12-county 15th Congressional District. 

He won 40 percent of the vote overall against four-term incumbent Republican Steve Stivers. 

Another would-be history-maker fell short as well. 

In Portage County, University of Akron professor Lis Kenneth Regula, a Democrat, won 38.5 percent of the vote and lost a race for auditor to 24-year incumbent Republican Janet Esposito.  

Regula was the first transgender Ohioan to run for political office. 

Other results, according to final, unofficial vote counts from the Ohio secretary of state and county boards of elections: 

• Democrat Melinda Miller of Granville lost an Ohio Senate race to incumbent Republican Jay Hottinger in the 31st District, which covers areas of Central and Southeast Ohio. She won 33 percent of the vote.

• Democrat John McManus, a member of the Dayton school board, lost to incumbent Republican Jim Butler in Montgomery County’s 41st Ohio House District. McManus won 45 percent of the vote.

• Democrat Zach Dickerson of Miamisburg lost a race in Montgomery County’s 42nd Ohio House District. He gained 41 percent of the vote against incumbent Republican NirajAntani.

• Democrat Rebecca Howard, an early-childhood education consultant from Oxford, lost to Republican incumbent Candice Keller in Southwest Ohio’s 53rd Ohio House District. Howard received 36 percent of the vote.

• Democrat Jeremy Blake, a second-term City Council member in Newark, lost a race for the Ohio House in Central Ohio’s 71st District. He gained 38 percent of the vote against incumbentRepublican Scott Ryan.

• Joseph Monbeck of Wapakoneta, vice president of the Auglaize County Democratic Party, lost an open-seat race in Northwest Ohio’s 84th Ohio House District. He won 17.5 percent of the vote against Republican Susan Manchester. 

• Democrat Garrett Baldwin, a high school senior from Mechanicsburg, lost a race against incumbent Republican Nino Vitale in the 85th Ohio House District, which covers three counties between Dayton and Columbus. Baldwin gained 27 percent of the vote.

• Democrat Taylor Sappington, a City Council member in Nelsonville, lost an Ohio House race in Southeast Ohio’s 94th District. He received 42 percent of the vote against incumbent Republican Jay Edwards.