What are our predictions for the 2020 Ohio House races, you ask? If you didn’t want to know, you wouldn’t be here right now.
Ohio has 16 districts for the US House of Representatives, and a 12 to 4 Republican majority which has been stable. One look at the map gives you a big clue as to why. Now, we did not want to say anything, not looking to upset anyone, but between you and me, looks like we have a bit of a gerrymander going on here. (That was sarcasm; of course it’s a gerrymander.) Ohio is not the only state doing it and both Republicans and Democrats are guilty, but until such time as this map gets an update, we need to deal in reality. This is the map, whether anyone likes it or not, and we’re not here to litigate how “right” or “wrong” it is, just to pick the winners of the races.
Who will those winners be? We can tell you.
OH US House Rating Scale
Without the need for any tossups, see the scale below for how we rated the 2020 Ohio House races.
2020 Ohio House Races Current Prediction Summary: September 10
Current Ohio US House Map
RATINGS CHANGE, JULY 21: R2 to R1
July 21: Chabot has been through the battles but remember, he has lost his seat before, and that was in a strong Democratic presidential year. History could repeat itself, and with Democratic tides rising, we are willing to bet he’s in for a close race at a minimum.
May 16: Steve Chabot has not won every election around here, but he has won most of them, and despite this containing a Democratic city like Cincinnati, the outer reaches of the district make it winnable for the GOP.
The rest of Cincinnati is in this district, but then it heads east into solid red territory. Republicans win here and it’s been a while since they didn’t, so Brad Wenstrup is safe.
A lot of Democratic voters in the Columbus area are crammed into this district which is shaped like the cross-section of a cauliflower head. This seat is about as blue as it gets in Ohio.
Jim Jordan is a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, and his district are supporters of Trump as well. He’s giving the people of the 4th, affectionately or inaffectionately referred to as the “duck” district,1 what they want and will get re-elected.
Bob Latta is in line for another big win in 2020 in the 5th District.
This district runs much of the eastern side of the state of Ohio, clipping a lot of Republican pockets of strength. Bill Johnson will be re-elected.
Bob Gibbs had a somewhat less easy race in 2018 than some of his GOP counterparts, but this was a huge Trump district and the Democrats are not going to pick him off.
Warren Davidson has a very red district to the north of Cincinnati and will slam dunk this thing home again in November.
Toledo and Cleveland in the same district? Well, it happened, and it’s a very Democratic seat. Marcy Kaptur is one of the most senior members of the House of Representatives, first elected in 1982. She will build upon that seniority with another win.
RATINGS CHANGE, SEPT 10: R3 TO R2
SEPT. 10: We are less in love with Republican chances here, though being a “strong lean” (or what some may call “Likely Republican”) is hardly a bad spot.
MAY 16: We’ll call this one safe for now, even though this here Dayton-based seat is not the most Republican you will find in Ohio. However, it is Republican enough for us to think Mike Turner is in fine shape.
The 11th District is perhaps the most Democratic in Ohio, with Cleveland as its anchor but sweeping down into Akron taking some narrow cuts and turns. Marcia Fudge is at no risk of losing a general election.
Remember the Ohio-12 special election back in 2018? Democrats had high hopes for that one but fell short. Troy Balderson slightly improved upon his vote share in the midterm general election. This time, the Democrats don’t seem to be going after this seat with the same gusto. Balderson will probably further increase his share in 2020.
Jim Traficant’s old district remains favorable to the Democrats; former presidential candidate Tim Ryan will beam up another win in November.
Extreme northeast Ohio isn’t as red as it gets in Ohio, but Dave Joyce probably is not in for a tough time.
Steve Stivers has this seat that rings around Columbus to the south and spreads out into much redder areas. Clipping parts of Columbus will not help flip this seat from red to blue.
Ohioans love their Buckeyes – well, a lot of them do, anyway. The 16th is now represented by former Ohio State football star Anthony Gonzalez and he’s not getting pried out of this seat this time.
OH House References
1: Anne Trubek, “Jim Jordan’s Gerrymandered District,” Belt Magazine, December 18, 2019, Belt Link)