May 6, 2014 will feature a primary election during which the shape of the November 2014 election will take shape.
In all likelihood, the May primary will be a low turnout affair. There are few races with multiple candidates, so in most cases, a party’s candidate will merely have his or her nomination codified.
The most high profile would be the race for Governor of Ohio. Incumbent Republican John Kasich and his Lt. Gov., Mary Taylor, return to the ballot but are unopposed. Two Democrats thus far appear on the ballot, in Ed FitzGerald and Larry Early, with FitzGerald appearing to be the favorite to challenge Gov. Kasich.
In state executive branch races, there are no primary challengers—each party, where applicable, has only one declared candidate at this point. An all-GOP state office slate includes Attorney General Mike DeWine, Auditor Dave Yost, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and Treasurer Josh Mandel, who might be best known for his unsuccessful challenge to US Senator Sherrod Brown in 2012.
The 10th Congressional District will have a pair of primaries, however, as Rep. Mike Turner will have competition n John Anderson for the GOP nomination. Democrats will choose from Bill Conner and Robert Klepinger.
In the State Senate, the 5th District, which features incumbent State Sen. Bill Beale, a Republican, will also have a choice for each party. On down the ballot, however, are no other major primaries, as many judgeships and county offices either feature one candidate from each party or an incumbent who is entirely unopposed through the general election.
All of this points to low turnout. While it is very, very early, 2014 would seem to be an election cycle friendly to Republicans. Governor and Congressional races will drive the bulk of turnout in the Fall, and with a second term Democratic president, the GOP would historically stand to gain. This would seem to bode well for Gov. Kasich and his Republican colleagues at the state level.
And given Kasich’s mostly good economic record and few major political wounds—most notably Senate Bill 5—barring any major catastrophe or other mitigating circumstance, the governor should probably feel good about winning reelection this November.
Still, the May primary looks to be rather subdued.