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Primary results: Columbus picks a Somali American while Delaware ousts an incumbent

Anna Staver, The Columbus Dispatch
Wednesday  August  3, 2022

Munra Abdullahi (Photo credit: Ignite.org)

Democratic voters in Columbus made history on Tuesday when they chose Ohio's first Somali-American woman Munira Abdullahi for state representative.

Delaware Republicans appear to have ousted an incumbent for a "pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Trump" challenger. And a Columbus Democrat beat his progressive primary challenger. 

The results from Tuesday's second primary, which are still unofficial, showed low turnout across Ohio, according to data from the Ohio Secretary of State's office. Statewide, about 8% of registered voters cast a ballot. In Franklin County, that number was 7% and it reached 11% in Delaware County. 

The low turnout is likely due to the confusion over redistricting and the addition of an August primary.

An ongoing dispute between Ohio's Republican leadership and the state Supreme Court over constitutional maps pushed the statehouse primaries from May to August.

That meant voters were asked to cast one ballot in May for U.S. Senate, Congress and the governor's races. And then they were expected to cast another on Tuesday for the state House and Senate seats.

More:J.D. Vance triumphed in U.S. Senate primary thanks to Trump. Gov. Mike DeWine won despite him

Here's who is headed to the general election in November from the Columbus area:

House District 1– Rep. Dontavius Jarrells, D-Columbus, defeated Carolyn Harding, an environmental activist from Bexley 65% to 35%. 

Jarrells, who is seeking a second term in the Ohio House, told the USA TODAY Network's Ohio Bureau that his record of answering pandemic phone calls, handing out water during AEP outages and generally "showing up" would protect him from a primary challenge.

"At the end of the day, when we go into the statehouse, Democrats are in the minority," Jarrells said during an interview in July. "We have to work with Republicans. I know how to do that and have done it successfully."

Jarrells' district, though different from the one he won in 2020, is still heavily Democratic and no Republican filed to run against him. 

House District 3–The race for this open seat on Columbus' heavily Democratic east side is too close to call. Ismail Mohamed, another Somali American and a refugee who came to the United States as a child, is narrowly in the lead with 1,979 votes. Kelly Harrop has 1,942.

That's outside the 0.5% margin for a recount, but those numbers could change as more provisional and absentee ballots get counted, Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Aaron Sellers said. 

The winner will face Republican J. Josiah Lanning in November.

More:Refugee passes bar, to try politics

House District 9Munira Abdullahi defeated Paul Filippelli 67% to 33% for another open seat, according to unofficial results. 

Abdullahi described herself as a champion for "women's rights, youth development and marginalized communities" on her campaign website

She's a graduate of Columbus Alternative High School and earned her bachelor's degree from the Ohio State University.

"As a person with type-1 diabetes, I am passionate about making sure healthcare and medications are affordable so no one will experience the struggles I’ve experienced with outrageous insulin prices and medical bills," according to Abdullahi's website. 

No Republican filed to run in this race either, which means Abdullahi is all but certain to win in November. 

House District 61– Incumbent Rep. Shawn Stevens, R-Delaware, lost to Beth Lear, 58%-42% Tuesday.

Stevens was selected by a committee to replace former Rep. Rick Carfagna earlier this year when he resigned for a job with the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

More:Delaware County Republican Shawn Stevens joins Ohio House

This appointment was something Lear emphasized in her campaign. 

"He was appointed by the party bosses less than three months ago," Lear said in a press release announcing her candidacy. "This is effectively an open seat, and I am confident my pro-life, pro-Second Amendment, pro-Trump values will prevail."

Lear will face Democrat Louise Valentine in November.

Anna Staver is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.


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