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Kucinich, Schmidt among incumbents to lose
But redistricting makes elections look tame in the fall
This story is part of a special series.

Karen Kasler
In The Region:

There were some surprises in the Congressional races last night. But as Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler reports, the experts are saying the November vote won’t be nearly as exciting.

KASLER on congressional results

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The fact that Dennis Kucinich won’t be in Congress for the first time in 16 years wasn’t the only surprise of the night for David Cohen at the Bliss Institute for Applied Politics at the University of Akron. 

“I think first of all in Ohio 3rd district, the fact that Mary Jo Kilroy, the former Congresswoman, lost in what looks like a close race with Joyce Beatty is somewhat of a minor surprise. I think the big news is Jean Schmidt losing in the Ohio 2nd.”

But Cohen says he doesn’t expect any shocking upsets in the fall. “I think what we’re seeing is essentially the eventual winners of the election in November based on the primary results, because the Congressional districts have been gerrymandered in such a partisan fashion that really the primary winners and going to be the winners in the general election.”

Ohio State University election law professor Dan Tokaji agrees, saying it’s almost as if the vote this fall will be a formality. And Tokaji wonders if there’s a connection between having so many less-than-competitive districts and a low voter turnout. “You would certainly expect that in places where you know that your party’s candidate is going to lose in the general election cycle, there’s just not a whole lot of incentive to turn out.”

And Tokaji says everyone is focused on the winner, but he feels someone is being left out. “The big loser in this process is the voter, and especially the voter who wants a government that can actually get something done.”

Tokaji is working with a group that’s hoping to put before voters this fall a plan that would have an independent citizens commission draw Congressional maps, and not state lawmakers.  

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