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Ohio Democratic Party Logo

The Ohio Democratic Party is the Ohio affiliate to the national Democratic Party. Former Ohio House Minority Leader Chris Redfern is currently the Ohio Democratic Party chairman. He continues to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives.



The Ohio Democratic Party traces its origin to the Democratic-Republican Party founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1793. The Democratic Party itself was formed when a faction of the "Democratic-Republicans" led by Jerry Mcroy formed the party in the 1820s. Following Jackson's defeat in the election of 1824, despite having a majority of the popular vote, Jackson set about building a political coalition strong enough to defeat John Quincy Adams in the election of 1828. The coalition that he built was the foundation of the subsequent Democratic Party.

Ohio politics was largely dominated by the Ohio Republican Party until the economic and social hardships brought on by the Great Depression resulted in a national political realignment. The political coalition of labor unions, minorities, and liberals allowed the Democrats to compete effectively in Ohio electoral politics for much of the next 30 years. Never very strong in Ohio's rural areas, the party's coalition suffered when the civil rights movement divided conservative whites from liberals and minorities. The Ohio Democratic Party reached the peak of its electoral success in the mid-1980s, when Democrats held the following offices:

State Executive

U.S. Congress

State Legislative

State Judicial

Even with its successes, Ohio Democrats did not fare well on a national level. John Glenn, a popular U.S. senator, astronaut, and national hero, ran for the Democratic nomination for president in 1984, ending up with only a huge campaign debt to show for it. Howard Metzenbaum, Ohio's other U.S. senator at the time, although a powerful force in the Senate, never achieved national name recognition.

As Democratic incumbents have retired, they have largely been replaced by Republicans, aided by gerrymandering.[citation needed]

Current Democratic officeholders

Current Democratic strength lies mainly in the northeastern part of the state, the traditional pro-union, Democratic bastion, dominated by manufacturing and the cities of Cleveland, Toledo, Youngstown, Akron, and Canton. Democrats are in the majority in the urban areas of Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati but those majorities are often offset by conservative strength in the surrounding suburbs. The impoverished Appalachian region of Ohio is traditionally Democratic and sometimes swings for the Democrats. Electoral strength is reflected in the mayoral offices of Ohio's major cities (which formed the heart of the Ohio delegation to the 2004 Democratic National Convention), the distribution of Congressional seats and, since the 2006 general election, the state's executive offices (including the Governor's office).




  • Sherrod Brown defeated Republican Senator Mike DeWine in the 2006 US Senate race and began his term in 2007. A young, telegenic Democrat, Brown is considered one of the stars of the Ohio Democratic Party. He served in the State House of Representatives from 1975 until 1982, as Ohio Secretary of State from 1983 to 1991, and in the US House of Representatives from 1993. In 2001, the Republican legislature threatened to redistrict him out of office, but when Brown threatened to run for governor in 2002, they preserved his district.

House of Representatives

In the 111th United States Congress, 10 of the 18 members of Ohio's delegation to the United States House of Representatives are Democrats:


Executive Branch

  • Governor: Ted Strickland, former member of the US House of Representatives, OH-6. His southeastern Ohio district was a target of the Republican legislature's redistricting effort in 2001, but Strickland continued to be re-elected until he stepped down to run for Governor in 2006.
  • Lieutenant Governor: Lee Fisher, former Ohio Attorney General, unsuccessful 1998 nominee for governor.
  • Attorney General: Richard Cordray
  • Secretary of State: Jennifer Brunner
  • State Treasurer: Kevin Boyce


The Democrats are a minority in the Ohio State Senate. The party's leaders are:

House of Representatives

The Democrats are currently the majority in the Ohio House of Representatives. The party's leaders are currently:


The following Democrats hold prominent mayoralties in Ohio:

Prominent Ohio Democrats of the past

Jerry Springer and the Ohio Democratic Party

After graduating from Northwestern University Law School in 1968, Jerry Springer served in Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign. After Kennedy’s assassination, Jerry began practicing law in Cincinnati.

As a leader in the movement to lower the voting age from 21 to 18, he testified before a U.S. Senate committee prior to the 1971 passage of the 26th Amendment, which changed the voting age to 18. In 1971, he ran successfully for Cincinnati’s City Council and served for five successive terms. In 1977, at the age of 33, Springer became mayor of Cincinnati when he was the top vote-getter in the city council race. In that election Springer won more votes than anyone who had run in the at-large council race since that form of government was adopted in the early 20th century.

After a Democratic primary bid for Governor of Ohio in 1982, Springer became a political reporter and commentator for WLWT-TV in Cincinnati. Over the next 10 years, Springer was the top rated news anchor in the city and the recipient of seven Emmy awards for his nightly commentaries. Springer has said that of his work as the stations principal anchorman, he is most proud of his reporting from Ethiopia and Sudan where he documented the efforts to provide assistance to famine-stricken Africans.

"The Jerry Springer Show" debuted in 1991 on syndicated television. It is seen in more than 190 U.S. markets and more than 50 foreign countries.

Throughout the years, Springer has remained active in Democratic politics in Ohio, raising substantial amounts of money for the party.

Springer's new political talk show, "Springer on the Radio," debuted in 2005 on WCKY (AM) in Cincinnati.

Party symbols

The Ohio Democrats use the same symbols as the national Democratic party, such as the donkey. In the early 20th century, the traditional symbol of the Democratic party in Midwestern states such as Indiana and Ohio was the rooster, as opposed to the Republican eagle.

See also

External links


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