Election Day 2022 on a national level was not quite the “red wave” that was predicted for the Republican Party. However, in Ohio, the trend of becoming a solidly red state seemed to cement even more with the election results.
In a close, hotly contested U.S. Senate race, Republican candidate JD Vance emerged victorious over Congressman Tim Ryan. The balance of the Senate still remains in flux with some races yet to be determined.
In terms of Ohio U.S. House seats, Democrats made one gain with Greg Landsman unseating long-time Republican Congressman Steve Chabot in Southwest Ohio. Republicans seem poised to wrest the House from Democratic control, but final results are still outstanding.
If Republicans do gain control of one or both chambers of Congress, there is likely to be scrutiny of student debt relief, Title IX, and racial justice efforts. It also is likely that the non-renewed Higher Education Act will continue to go unrenewed for another two years.
As anticipated, Republicans swept all statewide offices, including governor, attorney general, secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, as well as all three Ohio Supreme Court races.
Democrats lost one seat in the Ohio Senate, meaning for the next General Assembly, that body will have a split of 26 Republicans to just 7 Democrats, a supermajority.
In the Ohio House, Republicans appear to have picked up two additional seats, which will take their supermajority to 66 members over the Democrats’ 33 members for the next two years.
These state results mean that we are likely to see more of the same in terms of a lack of commitment to restoring higher education funding, possible attacks on faculty, and a piecemeal approach to solving higher education problems.
This is why it is so important that the Ohio Conference actively educates legislators about our issues and lobbies in the interests of faculty and quality higher education. It is also why our new affiliations with the OFT/AFT and AFL-CIO are so critical. We are going to need our allies more than ever to stave off potential attacks and help us make the case for higher education investment.