Ohio Democratic Party

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Ohio Democratic Party
ChairpersonElizabeth Walters
HeadquartersColumbus, Ohio
IdeologyModern liberalism
National affiliationDemocratic Party
Seats in the US Senate
1 / 2
Seats in the US House
5 / 15
Seats in the State Senate
7 / 33
Seats in the State House
32 / 99
Seats in the Cleveland City Council
17 / 17
Seats in the Columbus City Council
7 / 7
Seats in the Cincinnati City Council
9 / 9
Seats on the Ohio Supreme Court
3 / 7

The Ohio Democratic Party (ODP) is the affiliate of the Democratic Party in the U.S. state of Ohio. Summit County Council President Elizabeth Walters has been the party's chairwoman since January 2021.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown is the top Ohio Democrat. The party emphasizes jobs, wages, and labor rights in its platform and generally draws support from workers and unions. Democrats currently hold 5 of 15 U.S. House seats in Ohio. The often seen #2 government executive spot (The Cuyahoga County Executive) is held by Chris Ronayne.[1]


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 Andrew Jackson's defeat in the 1824 United States presidential election, despite having a majority of the popular vote, Jackson set about building a political coalition strong enough to defeat John Quincy Adams in the 1828 United States presidential election. 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 whites from civil rights proponents and minorities. The Ohio Democratic Party reached the peak of its electoral success in the mid-1980s, and this is when the State of Ohio began to invest in many Democratic proposals. This was led by Richard Celeste, a Democratic Governor elected in 1982 and re-elected in 1986, and by his party chairman, James Ruvolo. Together Ruvolo and Celeste constructed a very effective organization that raised a surplus of money that helped out the Democratic Party's candidates and their everyday operations.

In 2006 Chris Redfern became the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. Redfern primarily focused on building a statewide organization that had the power to win every part of Ohio. In 2006, after a 16-year drought, Ohio elected a Democratic U.S. senator (Sherrod Brown), governor (Ted Strickland), lieutenant governor, secretary of state, and state treasurer. In 2008, Ohio Democrats won back the House of Representatives after 14 years of Republican control.

Summit County Council President Elizabeth Walters has been the chairwoman since January 2021. Walters previously served as the Executive Director of the Ohio Democratic Party in 2014. She is the first woman to be elected to the position of Democratic Party Chair in the state.[2]

During the years of 2016 to 2020, a rift developed in the Democratic Party from the national level down to the local level. Progressive Democrats began challenging incumbent Democrats across the country from school boards to bids for Congress. Over time, this led to a slow, but steady adoption of Progressive policies by moderate Democrats, which assisted in capturing the U.S. House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections.

As of 2023, the Ohio Democratic Party is in the minority in both chambers of the Ohio General Assembly. Democrats hold five of Ohio's 15 U.S. House seats and one of Ohio's two U.S. Senate seats. A priority for Ohio Democrats in the 2010s and 2020s has been increasing the minimum wage.[3]

Electoral success[edit]

The Ohio Democratic Party reached the peak of its electoral success in the mid-1980s to 1990s, when Democrats held the following offices:

U.S. Congress[edit]

State executive[edit]

State legislative[edit]

State judicial[edit]

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.

Current elected officials[edit]

The Ohio Democratic Party holds three seats on the Supreme Court of Ohio, one of the state's U.S. Senate seats and five of the state's fifteen U.S. House seats.

State legislature[edit]

Ohio Senate[edit]

Ohio House of Representatives[edit]

Supreme Court of Ohio[edit]


U.S. Senate[edit]

U.S. House[edit]

District Member Photo
1st Greg Landsman
3rd Joyce Beatty
9th Marcy Kaptur
11th Shontel Brown
13th Emilia Sykes


The following Democrats hold prominent mayoralties in Ohio:

Prominent Ohio Democrats of the past[edit]

Bill O'Neill, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of Ohio. 2012-2018

Party symbols[edit]

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[edit]


  1. ^ "Chris Ronayne to be next Cuyahoga County Executive". spectrumnews1.com. Retrieved 2022-12-20.
  2. ^ "Elizabeth Walters and Andre Washington Elected Chair and Vice Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party". Ohio Democratic Party. January 14, 2021. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  3. ^ Borchardt, Jackie (13 March 2018). "Ohio Democrats propose $15 minimum wage". Retrieved 23 January 2021.

External links[edit]