Democrat fills candidacy gap in vacant local Ohio House race

Clinton, Greene & Clark counties’ House District 71 will have contested race this November

A new Democratic Ohio House candidate in Greene, Clinton and Clark counties’ House District 71 has thrown her hat in the ring after the previous Democrat withdrew from the race following March’s primary.

James Duffee won an uncontested primary in March. He will be replaced on the ballot by Krista Magaw, the retired longtime executive director of the Tecumseh Land Trust who has been increasingly involved with the Greene County Democratic Party.

Magaw said giving HD 71′s Democrats someone to vote for this November was “probably the best way for me to help the Greene County Democrats and my part of Ohio.”

“I think it’s real important for Democrats to have candidates at every level to understand better what the voters say they need and to build relationships over time to get a better base in this part of Ohio,” Magaw told this news organization.

Greene County Democratic Party Chair Kim McCarthy said Duffee was a “placeholder” candidate who agreed to run in the primary until they found a strong candidate for the general election — who she believes they found in Magaw.

Ohio law allows a candidate who won a partisan primary for an Ohio House race to withdraw and be replaced by their party as long as they do so by a statutory deadline. Since HD 71 includes three counties, the secretaries and chairs of Greene, Clinton and Clark counties’ parties voted to replace Duffee with Magaw, which they did unanimously.

With Magaw’s candidacy confirmed by the Greene County Board of Elections, she will now face in November Republican candidate Levi Dean, a sitting Xenia city councilman and the son of the district’s longtime incumbent Rep. Bill Dean, R-Xenia.

Magaw faces an uphill battle. According to the state’s latest metrics, about 68% of the district’s voters vote Republican, while only 32% vote Democratic.

Magaw told this news organization that she hopes to win over Republicans and independents by advocating policies that would bring more state investment into rural communities, improve education standards, maternal and child health metrics and infrastructure, among other things.

According to a statement, Magaw holds a master’s degree in public policy from Duke University. As executive director of the Tecumseh Land Trust, she oversaw the preservation of 33,000 acres of land across Clark and Greene counties.

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Avery Kreemer can be reached at 614-981-1422, on X, via email, or you can drop him a comment/tip with the survey below.