Ohio Government and Politics
Ohio Government and Politics provides a thorough, highly readable overview of the history, processes, and institutions of the state’s government and politics. In a country increasingly divided into blue and red states, Ohio is “purple” – one of the few states that is not dominated by a single political party. Covering the crucial strategies of both the republicans and democrats as they vie for power in Ohio, this new title demonstrates the “nationalizing” of Ohio politics. However, contemporary issues specific to Ohio politics are not neglected; coverage of important issues such charter reform in Cuyahoga County and the controversies over the regulation of “fracking” is included.
- Front Matter
- Subject Index
- Chapter 1: The Politics of a Purple State
- Chapter 2: A Brief History of Ohio
- Chapter 3: The Ohio Legislature
- Chapter 4: The Ohio Executive Branch
- Chapter 5: Courts in Ohio
- Chapter 6: Local Government in Ohio
- Chapter 7: Financing the State Government of Ohio
- Chapter 8: Political Parties, Interest Groups, and Elections in Ohio
- Chapter 9: Direct Democracy in Ohio
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About the Authors
Tables, Figures, and Maps[Page xi]Tables
- Table 1.1 Comparison of Electoral Vote Difference to Electoral Votes Available in Ohio, 1964–2012 3
- Table 1.2 Presidential Vote Difference, 2000–2012 5
- Table 1.3 Ohio Basic Facts 5
- Table 3.1 Ohio House Election Results in 2012 26
- Table 3.2 130th General Assembly Standing Committees 39
- Table 3.3 129th General Assembly 42
- Table 4.1 Cabinet Departments 61
- Table 6.1 Populations of Major Cities in Ohio 103
- Table 7.1 Transportation Budget 123
- Table 8.1 Ohio Campaign Contribution Limits 136
- Table 8.2 Money Raised by Party Committees in Ohio in 2012 138
- Table 9.1 Signature Requirements for Initiatives and Referendums in Ohio 153
- Figure 1.1 2008 and 2012 Presidential Election Results, 10 Smallest Counties in Ohio 9
- Figure 1.2 2008 and 2012 Presidential Election Results, 10 Largest Counties in Ohio 10
- Figure 2.1 Map of the Northwest Territory 13
- Figure 2.2 Northwest Ordinance of 1787 15
- Figure 2.3 Announcement of Roosevelt’s Speech at the 1912 Convention 21
- Figure 5.1 Ohio Court Structure 81[Page xii]
- Figure 5.2 Supreme Court Race Voter Drop Off, 2002–2012 91
- Figure 6.12014 General Fund Expenditures for Franklin County, Ohio 94
- Figure 7.1 GRF Revenues by Source 111
- Figure 7.2 Total (State and Federal) GRF Appropriations 119
- Figure 7.3 Motor Fuel Tax: Motor Fuel Tax Receipts versus Gallons Taxed 122
This book is intended to meet the need for an up-to-date basic yet comprehensive text covering government and politics in the battleground state of Ohio. We want the reader to be able to grasp contemporary issues in Ohio politics but to do so with an eye on Ohio’s political history and structures. As authors, we often debated how much data and how many details to include. We hope the reader will find that we struck an appropriate balance and that this book will be a resource not only for students enrolled in government classes at Ohio universities but also for Ohio citizens and journalists from around the nation (and world) who, along with the presidential hopefuls that they are covering, descend on Ohio every four years. As we argue in Chapter 1, Ohio serves as an apt microcosm of the United States. This is likely why Ohio voters have proved themselves so adept at selecting the eventual winner of our quadrennial presidential contests. This is also why a book on Ohio politics and government is necessary.
The unifying theme of this book is the idea of Ohio as a purple state. In a country increasingly divided into blue (Democratic) and red (Republican) states, Ohio remains among a handful of states that are not dominated by a single political party. Although Republicans have done very well in electing their members to positions in the state government in Ohio (most recently in 2014), Democrats were able to grab the state’s electoral votes in both 2008 and 2012. Ohio has therefore become crucial to the strategies of both parties as they vie with one another for power. As American politics swing back and forth between Republican and Democratic dominance, Ohio’s politics follow suit.
The book opens by explaining Ohio’s role, now more than 50 years old, as the quintessential purple state in presidential politics. This is followed by a more in-depth look at the establishment of Ohio as a state and the evolution of the Ohio constitution. With this background in place, we move to a discussion of the various institutions of Ohio government. In addition to covering the legislature, the executive branch, and the courts, however, we include a chapter on regional and local government institutions. From this point forward in the book, we include in nearly every chapter a brief text box detailing a particular issue or event that helps to [Page xiv]illustrate what was discussed. For example, in Chapter 5, when discussing the Ohio court system, we provide a detailed account of the court reform proposal recently proposed by the Ohio Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor. Other text boxes deal with subjects such as the debate over oil and natural gas hydraulic fracturing (fracking), political corruption and reform in Cuyahoga County, and the controversy over early in-person voting in Ohio. The text boxes are particularly useful in allowing us to draw the reader’s attention to contemporary issues.
We then move to subjects that, although not altogether unique to Ohio, are fundamental to understanding the government and politics of the state. The first is the state budget. “Who gets what, where, when, and how” is perhaps the most famous definition of politics, and the budgeting process lies at the core of Ohio politics. Of course, like all states, Ohio has its own political culture, which was first introduced in Chapter 1. In Chapter 8, we circle back to this topic, looking at political parties in Ohio, the state’s electoral rules, and the role of significant interest groups. Finally, we conclude by addressing the political procedures that Ohio shares with only a handful of states: the ability of citizens to participate directly in lawmaking via the initiative and referendum. There is symmetry to ending the book with this discussion. The initiative and referendum emerged from Ohio’s early embrace of progressive political reforms in the early 20th century. At the same time, as the recent repeal of the law known as Senate Bill 5 (restricting public labor unions) shows, these reforms will continue to influence Ohio politics in the 21th century.
Although the faults of this book are solely the responsibility of the coauthors, we did benefit from the assistance of others. We want to offer special thanks to Henry Gomez, chief political reporter for the Northeast Ohio Media Group (and our former student!), who was very helpful to us as we sought to explain changes in Cuyahoga County government. Thomas A. Finnerty, project manager at the Center for Urban Studies at Youngstown State University, offered thoughtful comments on local government in Ohio. Jeffrey Dick, chair of Geological and Environmental Sciences at Youngstown State University, helped us to understand the issues surrounding fracking in Ohio.