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Washington Watch: It's all about that State

Even though the presidential election tends to get all the attention during this season, it is important to know who is running in the local area.

For instance, Ohio has one of two Senate seats up for grabs this year. Incumbent Rob Portman (R) is running against former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D).

MVNU’s resident political pundit Dr. Terilyn Johnston Huntington stressed the importance of familiarizing yourself with candidates down the ticket.

“I would really encourage people to make sure they know about their local elections,” Huntington said.

There is also a House of Representatives seat open in District 7. So, for those who reside in Central Ohio (including Knox County), this is their district race. Bob Gibbs (R) is running against Roy Rich (D) and Dan Phillip (I).

Beyond this, Huntington encouraged voters to research the local judges running in their area as well.

“That’s the part of the ballot that people generally don’t have the foggiest idea about,” she said.

And in Ohio, citizens vote for all the judgeships, from the Ohio Supreme Court all the way down to county and local seats.

“That’s incredibly important, because if you have to actually go to court, these are the people who are setting policy and legal precedent within your county and your district,” she said. “Its absolutely vital that we know who these people are that are sitting on the bench.”

All those who are eligible should visit their county’s election website to confirm their voting status.

Registered voters can typically access a sample ballot which outlines who is running for what positions, and what issues are being presented.

Voters also are encouraged to Google candidates’ ruling records for insight into how the candidates align with the voter’s ideologies.

Bottom line, doing a little research on the candidates before Nov. 8 can really help voters make informed choices about all the races, national to local.

And, for those that think their candidate has already won the race, Huntington has a message.

“Everyone needs to go out and vote,” Huntington said. “You can’t pretend [the election] is a foregone conclusion.”

Even if a specific candidate has a lead, that doesn’t mean each vote isn’t important.

“These are predictions; it’s based on probability,” she said. “People just have to go out and vote.”

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