Ohio

Eye on Education

Post-SB 5, Teacher Candidates Falter at the Polls

Ida Lieszkovszky / StateImpact Ohio

Tom Schmida just retired from 40 years in the classroom. He ran unsuccessfully for a seat in Ohio's state legislature.

A dozen teachers and former teachers ran for seats in the Ohio House of Representatives, and two more ran for the state Senate. But just one of them won his race.

Most of the teacher-candidates said last year’s battle over collective bargaining for public employees spurred them to run. And many of them hoped the energy that surrounded the effort to overturn Senate Bill 5 would propel them to the Statehouse.

They had hoped to represent the interests of public schools and prevent any future attempts at Senate Bill 5-type legislation.

But Stephen Brooks, a political scientist with the Bliss Institute at the University of Akron, says all that probably had little to do with the way the races turned out.

“They were not in well-designed districts for Democrats to run in so I’m not sure being a schoolteacher or not being a schoolteacher had much to do with that. They were having difficult races because they were running in non-competitive districts, if you will,” he says.

The only one of the new teacher-candidates to win is John Patterson, who will represent House District 99 in Ashtabula County. Two other former teachers who were incumbents retained their seats in the Ohio House.

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