Butler County shifts focus to general election in fewer than 100 days

A "vote here" sign is seen at the Butler County Board of Elections headquarters in Hamilton on May 2, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

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A "vote here" sign is seen at the Butler County Board of Elections headquarters in Hamilton on May 2, 2022. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Of the two contested Statehouse races in Butler County on Tuesday, only one was not a certainty.

Winners from Tuesday night’s special primary, which featured Ohio House and Senate candidates, will face their partisan rivals in November’s general election. Tuesday’s voter turnout was anemic as only 8.44% of Butler County’s 253,600 registered voters participated, according to unofficial election results.

Incumbent Ohio Rep. Thomas Hall, a Republican from Madison Twp., faced first-time political candidate Matt King. Hall was never behind as each batch of election results were posted, however, there was one point when Hall had a 2 percentage-point lead a large batch Liberty Twp. votes were counted.

Liberty Twp. voters overwhelmingly supported King, who was backed by a few big names in Butler County, including Sheriff Richard Jones, County Commissioner T.C. Rogers, and West Chester Twp. Trustee Mark Welch.

But as soon as the majority of Middletown’s votes were counted, Hall’s lead expanded for good.

ExploreLIVE AUG. 2 PRIMARY ELECTION RESULTS

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The Ohio House Ways and Means Committee began hearings on House Bill 501, legislation sponsored by State Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.), which would address a number of issues and concerns relating to Ohio townships.

The Ohio House Ways and Means Committee began hearings on House Bill 501, legislation sponsored by State Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.), which would address a number of issues and concerns relating to Ohio townships.

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The Ohio House Ways and Means Committee began hearings on House Bill 501, legislation sponsored by State Representative Thomas Hall (R-Madison Twp.), which would address a number of issues and concerns relating to Ohio townships.

Hall ended Election Day with 55.9% of the unofficial vote, while King finished with 44.1%, according to the board of election’s unofficial vote totals.

At the end of Tuesday night, the first word Hall could think of was “relief.”

“This wasn’t an easy race. I’ve got to thank my family, my friends for believing in me, and my team,” Hall said. “There were a lot of factors against us, but we had a lot of people behind us.”

Hall said he knocked on more than 6,000 doors and his team knocked on more than 11,000 doors, hitting every single registered Republican in all 91 precincts.

Hall gives credit to King because “he made me a better candidate for this district. He made me work my butt off for this.”

The first-term Ohio lawmaker is seeking re-election to Columbus, but would represent the newly drawn 46th House District if elected on Nov. 8. The district represents a significant portion of eastern Butler County, including Middletown, Madison Twp., and Liberty Twp.

Hall now faces Lawrence Mulligan, Jr., of Middletown, who was uncontested in the Democratic primary, in the Nov. 8 general election. Mulligan said “the fight is just beginning.”

“We must stand up for the rights of women, working families, children, minority and LGBTQ+ communities, gun violence victims, and many other groups that far-right interests hope to discriminate against in the upcoming legislative and judicial session,” he said.

In the other contested race, Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers easily won her nominating primary over first-time candidate Cody Harper.

Carruthers started with a large lead as early votes were posted, and increased that lead as votes were counted on Tuesday. The incumbent won 80.3% to 19.7%, according to unofficial election results.

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State Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, wore a mask off and on during a recent Ohio House session.

State Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, wore a mask off and on during a recent Ohio House session.

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State Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton, wore a mask off and on during a recent Ohio House session.

Carruthers said she’s “very humbled and honored” to be advancing to the general election for a chance to serve for a third term.

“My pledge is to keep working hard and earn the trust and vote of Butler County residents, regardless of party, over the next 97 days,” she said.

Democrat Sam Lawrence will face Carruthers in the Nov. 8 general election as he was uncontested in the Democratic primary. The 19-year-old Miami University student says he’s running for office “to clean up Columbus.”

“Our Statehouse has been a haven for corruption and unethical tactics by the supermajority for years,” he said. “It’s time for better education funding, environmentally conscious policy, and a tax break for the middle class.”

Carruthers and Lawrence are seeking to represent the newly drawn 47th House District, which represents central and much of western Butler County, including Oxford, Hanover Twp., and Hamilton.

Others uncontested in Tuesday’s primary that will be November opponents include the partisan nominees in the 45th and 40th House Districts.

Incumbent Republican Rep. Jennifer Gross, of West Chester Twp., will face Democrat Chuck Horn, also of West Chester Twp. in the 45th House District race―a repeat matchup of two years ago. This rectangular district represents southern Butler County residents from Okeana to West Chester Twp.

Voters Milford and Wayne townships, and Trenton, are now being represented by the 40th Ohio House District. This district race features Republican incumbent Rep. Randy Creech and Democrat Amy Cox. The 40th district also includes Preble County and parts of the Miami Valley region.

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