GOP gains in Appalachian Ohio evident in 96th District flip

By: - November 4, 2020 12:12 am

The 96th District in eastern Ohio has flipped from blue to red.

It was only two years ago that state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, had such a strong hold on Ohio’s 96th House District that Republicans decided not to put up a candidate.

Indeed, Cera ran unopposed in both 2016 and 2018 in the 96th District, which covers all of Jefferson and Monroe counties and part of Belmont County on Ohio’s eastern edge.

Term limits prevented Cera from running again in 2020. And Republicans have taken advantage.

With nearly all precincts reporting, the unofficial results on election night show a major win for the GOP in Cera’s seat. Republican Ron Ferguson has 66% of the vote to Democratic candidate Richard Olivito’s 31%.

Jefferson, Monroe and Belmont counties all went for President Donald Trump by sizable margins.

The 96th District is not the only Appalachian Ohio seat to flip from blue to red. Two others have flipped as well:

  • 63rd District, where incumbent Rep. Gil Blair, D-Weathersfield, lost to Republican challenger Mike Loychik by an unofficial count on election night of 54 to 46 percent. This district is in southern Trumbull County, which Trump also carried again in 2020.
  • 99th District, which also featured a term-limited Democratic incumbent in Rep. John Patterson, D-Jefferson. With all precincts reporting, Republican candidate Sarah Fowler Arthur defeated Democratic candidate Richard Dana by an unofficial margin of 59 to 41 percent. This district covers most of Ashtabula and part of Geauga counties in Northeast Ohio. Trump carried both counties in 2020.

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Tyler Buchanan
Tyler Buchanan

Tyler Buchanan is an award-winning journalist who has covered Ohio politics and government for the past decade. A Bellevue native and graduate of Bowling Green State University, he most recently spent 6 1/2 years as a reporter and editor of The Athens Messenger and Vinton-Jackson Courier newspapers. He is a member of the BG News Alumni Society Board and was a 2019 fellow in the Kiplinger Program in Public Affairs Journalism.

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