CLEVELAND — Congressional seats are kind of like pieces in a slow-moving game of chess; for the better part of a decade, you can almost predict their movement. But in a redistricting year, it’s like having someone come along and bump the table and then the pieces are in different places and that game of chess turns into a game of musical chairs.
Ten years ago you’ll remember when the redrawn districts brought us the battle of the incumbents. Democrats Marcy Kaptur and Dennis Kucinich were forced to run against each other in a primary as their districts were merged. Then-incumbent Republican Jim Renacci and incumbent Democrat Betty Sutton were also forced to do the same in the general. Add in the sudden retirement that year of Steve Latourette after the primary but before the general and the Northeast Ohio delegation changed overnight.
Such is the case again this year but instead of incumbents facing each other three have opted to walk away. Two of them, Republican Rep. Anthony Gonzalez and Rep. Bob Gibbs ended up in a newly redrawn Republican-leaning 7th district where former President Trump endorsed Max Miller was already running. Miller, a former Trump aide will face Democratic businessman Matthew Diemer in November. Guaranteeing a new face in Washington from that district.
The other new face headed to D.C. will come from the also open seat just to the east, the new 13th District in Summit and Stark County made up of parts of the seats of Gonzalez, Democrat Shontel Brown and Democrat Tim Ryan, who left the house to run for U.S. Senate. The race here is one that pits Democrat Emilia Sykes, a former State House Minority Chair who was one of the Democrats on the redistricting committee against Trump-endorsed Republican Madison Gesiotto Gilbert, an attorney and former Miss Ohio.
One of the most closely watched races in the state though will be that for Ohio’s 9th District featuring Democrat Marcy Kaptur, the longest serving woman in the U.S. House who once again finds herself as she did a decade ago in a redistricting battle. This time she’s running against Trump-endorsed Republican J.R. Majewski. Majewski made a name for himself in 2020 when the Air Force veteran turned his yard into a massive lawn painted campaign sign for Trump.
Of all of Ohio’s now 15 districts this is the one seen as the closest to a 50-50 split. Dave’s Redistricting puts the partisan lean of the district as Democrats 48.8 to Republicans 48.6.
Redistricting has also brought another new representative to Northeast Ohio in the form of Rep. Bob Latta. The Republican has represented the western part of the state for eight terms, but his district now stretches from the Indiana border east to Lorain County. He’ll face Democrat Craig Swartz, a businessman who is originally from Middleburg Heights.
In addition to these races, all of Northeast Ohio Congressional Districts faced some tweaks and changes; if you are unsure which district you’re in you will likely be reminded soon by the hopefuls themselves through mailers aimed at winning your vote.