Ohio Secretary of State candidate Kathleen Clyde believes 2018 could be a good year for Democrats in the Buckeye State.
“I feel good about the potential environment in Ohio for 2018,” said Clyde, who holds the 75th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. She was the keynote speaker at a Delaware County Democratic Party fundraiser on Thursday in Westerville.
“Generally, the party that takes the White House suffers in the mid-term elections,” said Clyde, who lives in Kent. “What we saw in Virginia (in the Nov. 7 election) was a good and hopeful sign of what may be to come here in Ohio. It’s definitely, I think, energized a lot of Democrats and I think that’s important as we head into 2018 as well.”
Democrats won the governors’ offices in Virginia and New Jersey on Nov. 7, erased a previously dominant Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and won a special election that gave them control of the Washington state Senate.
In total, Democrats flipped about two dozen state legislative seats around the country and have now gained at least 30 seats previously held by Republicans since President Donald Trump won election last year, reversing several years of Republican momentum.
Clyde said congressional redistricting reform in Ohio is one of her top priorities as she seeks to fill the secretary of state’s seat in Columbus. The next Ohio secretary of state will play a major role in drawing district lines following the 2020 U.S. Census.
The secretary of state, governor, and state auditor are members of the Ohio Apportionment Board, which is responsible for drawing district lines.
“… we have to fix these gerrymandered districts,” she said. “It is a hard decision for a Democrat to make to run in a district where it’s rigged against them. In all the districts, the numbers are not reflective of where Ohio is (politically) and I’d like to see a new process put in place.
“I want to bring fairer elections to Ohio and fairer districts to Ohio,” Clyde added. “I think I can really make a difference in that regard in the secretary of state’s office.”
In light of the recent rash of sexual harassment scandals involving many male politicians across the nation — the most recent being the resignation of Republican State Rep. Wes Goodman on Wednesday — Clyde said she and other female legislators are continuing to push for a change in the culture at the Statehouse.
“I would say that, as a woman in the legislature right now, this is a tough time,” Clyde said. “I signed on to a letter along with, I think, 40-some women legislators and staff saying that not enough is being done to address sexual harassment and making sure we have a good work environment at the Statehouse. … I hope the leaders will listen to the women who think more needs to be done.”
At this point, Clyde is without an opponent for the May 8, 2018 primary election.
Republican State Sen. Frank LaRose is the only GOP candidate in the race so far.
Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Zack Space, who is running for auditor of state, was also scheduled to speak at the fundraiser, but canceled his appearance due to a family emergency, according to local party officials.
Contact Andrew Carter at 740-413-0900. Follow him on Twitter @DelOhioEditor.