Republicans Repudiated in Ohio

Another example of the power of the abortion issue.

Just like in the state supreme court vote in Wisconsin, a Republican-leaning state has sent a pretty clear electoral message and it is directly linked to the abortion issue. Via the Columbus Dispatch: Ohio voters reject Issue 1 scoring win for abortion rights-rights supporters.

Issue 1 was projected to fail on Tuesday, dealing a blow to Ohio Republicans who wanted to hamstring a November ballot question on abortion rights.

Decision Desk HQ, an election results reporting agency providing results and race calls for the USA TODAY Network Ohio, called the race around 8:09 p.m. The Associated Press projected that Issue 1 had failed around 9 p.m.

The no vote was leading 57% to 43% with about 60% of the vote counted, according to unofficial results.

And via the NYT: Ohio Voters Reject Constitutional Change Intended to Thwart Abortion Amendment.

Ohio voters rejected a bid on Tuesday to make it harder to amend the State Constitution, according to The Associated Press, a significant victory for abortion-rights supporters trying to stop the Republican-controlled State Legislature from severely restricting the procedure.

The abortion question turned what would normally be a sleepy summer election in an off year into a highly visible dogfight that took on national importance and drew an uncharacteristically high number of Ohio voters for an August election.

Initial results showed the measure losing by a roughly 3 to 2 margin. 

The contest was seen as a major test of growing efforts by Republicans nationwide to curb voters’ use of ballot initiatives, and a potential bellwether of the political climate in next year’s national elections.

Sometimes the dog catching the car isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.

I think it is worth noting as well that this was a repudiation of Republicans trying to change the rules to advantage themselves.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Kathy says:

    Cue claims of massive fraud, rigged election, stolen hamberders, etc. in 3…2..1.

  2. EddieInCA says:


    It’s worse than that.

    An anti-abortion activist who supported a failed ballot measure in Ohio that would make it more difficult to amend the state’s Constitution insisted there were enough outstanding “Yes” votes to be counted – even after the race was called…. Multiple outlets – including CNN – called the race, deeming Issue 1 a failure at the ballot box. But that didn’t stop anti-abortion advocate Mike Gonidakis, president of Ohio Right to Life, from insisting on The Source that the votes for passage were still out there.

    Progressives should be putting this on every state ballot where they can. If I was advising Dems, I’d tell them to talk about four things only: 1. Improving economy. 2. Woman’s Right to choose. 3. Trump being already found responsible for sexual assault and fraud in addition to the four indictments. 4. Climate change.

  3. Kylopod says:

    It will be wonderfully ironic if the November referendum goes on to win more than 60% of the vote–which I think is a distinct possibility.

  4. EddieInCA says:


    If that happens, several house seats would flip and Sherrod Brown wins the Senate seat easily.

  5. drj says:

    Ohio’s state legislature is also quite gerrymandered, which makes the attempt to impose a supermajority requirement on ballot initiatives even more odious.

    What Republicans want is popular majorities (any popular majority) to become simply irrelevant. For them, it’s minority rule all the way.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Tyler Buchanan

    The Ohio Senate voted to place Issue 1 on the August ballot on literally the last possible day, beating the deadline by hours

    To the extent they had little time to campaign, it was their choice

    Jo Ingles

    Ohio Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) is conceding defeat. He said there wasn’t enough time to plan the campaign.

    Huh. That’s funny, the “No on 1” campaign had enough time.

  7. Jen says:

    @EddieInCA: I believe that this referendum is slated for Nov. 2023 (this year). Sherrod is on the ballot next November–are you suggesting that this would impact that race?

  8. Scott says:

    I suspect the issue is more than abortion rights even if abortion may be a galvanizer. I suspect people are tired of gerrymandering, of minority rule, of gaming the rules. They are tired of voting for something and immediately a legislature or other group immediately watering down what they voted for. They are tired of being the majority and treated as though they are the minority.

  9. Rick DeMent says:


    Huh. That’s funny, the “No on 1” campaign had enough time.

    This is ne of my many pet peeves about how we conduct election in this country. The time between people throwing their hat in the ring and election are absurdly long. The upshot is that the longer campaigns go the more susceptible they are to huge cash dumps with horrendous ads that misrepresent everything and time for dirty tricks to play out.

    We are in a place where political campaigns never stop. As soon as one election is done they use it to fund raise on the next. Most countries can call and election and get it over in 90 days or less. Here we have enter perpetual campaign mode. The only people that long drawn out campaigns help are dishonest bad faith actors. Too many people focus on individual personalities and not on the platforms of the party (Which is where we circle back to Dr. Taylors observations weak political parties).

  10. Gavin says:

    The vast majority of cash funding the R get-out-the-lie Ohio campaign was from an out-of-state billionaire who also funded the travel and other background cash for many Jan6 rioters. You may know him as the heir to the Schlitz fortune. Incidentally one of the main claims by Ohio R’s was the so-called Out Of State Shadowy Money funding liberals.. because it’s all projection with these people.

  11. MarkedMan says:

    @Rick DeMent: I’m not sure the capture of parties and politicians by wealthy and powerful individuals, especially local ones, can be attributed to our system. Is there any system, anywhere in the world or anywhere in history, which prevented such capture?

  12. Charley in Cleveland says:

    @Rick DeMent: Agree 100% that the never ending campaign season is a wrecking ball to our democracy, but the entities that could stop it – the political parties and the media – won’t do it because it is a cash cow. The perpetual campaign allows the parties and pols to measure their standing (money raised as opposed to polling approval), and TV, radio and websites rake in cash from the various campaigns. So there is no motivation for the parties, the pols or the media to say enough is enough.

  13. Daryl says:

    I wonder if this will make MAGA rethink their extreme radical agenda?
    Haha…I crack myself up….

  14. JohnSF says:

    What was the turnout?

  15. Blue Galangal says:

    @EddieInCA: Yeah, the Ohio GOP didn’t think this through very well. But when do they ever?

    @Scott: I’m in SW Ohio and this issue crossed party lines, surprisingly. My Trumper mom and sister both really wanted to vote No because government bad but voted Yes because the liberals down the street had a “No” sign in their yard. I suspect other Trumpers did vote no, however, and the Libertarian Party, the FOP, and the Ohio Firefighters all came out against this issue. My understanding is several counties who went Trump also went No so that can’t be good for the national GOP ambitions.

    @JohnSF: About 3 million voters out of ~8.4m over 18. The GOPers-pretending-to-be-liberals are moaning about the “low turnout” and warning “us Democrats” that we have to “do better.” *

    I think Cleveland had some amazing figure, and I know Cincinnati did as well. Hopefully what this really means is the Ohio Dems have upped their GOTV game.

    *Note that the “Vote Yes” contingent really started to panic and pour money into the race when early voting began to swell – they knew it was going to be high turnout so all they can do now is try to gaslight us into thinking 36% turnout in an off year cycle in an August special election is somehow a poor showing.

  16. Jen says:

    @Blue Galangal: A college friend of mine is active in the OH libertarian party and she has been very vocal on her social platforms advocating a no vote on this issue.

    36% voter participation in a special election in an off year is a strong turnout.

  17. JohnSF says:

    @Blue Galangal:
    36% is better than average UK by-election turnout IIRC, and definitely better than average local election turnout.
    Good work.

  18. Rick DeMent says:



    s there any system, anywhere in the world or anywhere in history, which prevented such capture?

    No but when you only have 90 days from the calling of an election to vote it’s harder to get traction with huge cash dumps and dirty tricks. Also, I don’t think anyone has the insane campaign finance laws we do where anyone from anywhere can spend as much money as they want as long as they have a super PAC.

  19. @MarkedMan:

    I’m not sure the capture of parties and politicians by wealthy and powerful individuals, especially local ones, can be attributed to our system.

    I guess it means what you mean by “capture”–but I will note that our system of campaign finance, especially as linked to interpretations of the First Amendment in this arena make it a lot easier in the US for the wealthy to have huge sway. But certainly, yes, the wealthy tend to be politically powerful globally.


    36% voter participation in a special election in an off year is a strong turnout.


  20. MarkedMan says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    our system of campaign finance … make it a lot easier in the US for the wealthy to have huge sway.

    100% agree, but it is independent of our party system. Such financing system corruption can affect all kinds of governments. I don’t know if this is still true, but British MPs were able to work as de facto lobbyists for private interests while serving in Parliament.

    The reason I bring this up is that we can reform financing without changing our constitution. (Two seats and an ethics code on the Supreme Court should just about do it).

  21. EddieInCA says:


    Jen, I’m saying that this issue should be on the 2024 ballot, not 2023. And Arizona, Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan should do the same, if they’re allowed to under their state constitutions. It’s the playbook the GOP used for gay marriage and a few other issues in the early 2000’s.

  22. Jen says:

    @EddieInCA: Ah, gotcha. I understand now–I was trying to figure out how the coattails could be long enough to stretch into the next year.

  23. DaveD says:


    Thankfully it was de facto voted on in the wi state Supreme Court election and now their gerrymandering might be over turned. If done the plaintiffs are asking for every election to be called under new maps before the 2024 election. Dobbs completely changed the game on the ground at least in the Midwest.