The longtime one-party system of our Mahoning Valley may be falling by the wayside.
It’s about time.
Indeed, choice is what our democracy is built on. It’s what makes America great.
We also believe the one-party political system comprised of only Democrats that has existed in Trumbull and Mahoning counties for decades breeds backroom politics with no checks and balances. Comfort levels stemming from the lack of challenges on important issues can trigger irresponsible government spending and hiring, as well as a lack of transparency.
For the first time in many years, voters in our area responded to the risks that come with a single-party system by electing several Republicans to significant positions on county and state levels.
And even in races where longtime Democratic officeholders maintained their seats, some faced significant challenges from the other party.
Ohio Sen. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, was unseated Tuesday by Republican challenger Sandra O’Brien from Rome, Ashtabula County.
Longtime Trumbull County Commissioner and Trumbull County Democratic Party Chairman Dan Polivka lost to Republican Niki Frenchko, who won her first election.
Democrat Gil Blair of Weathersfield was hoping to retain the 63rd district Statehouse seat to which he was appointed last year after Glenn Holmes resigned the post. Instead, voters selected young Republican Mike Loychik, 31, of Cortland, by a more than 8 percent margin.
Mahoning County also sealed solid Republican representation in Columbus on Tuesday.
Tuesday, Republican Al Cutrona won two more years in the 59th Statehouse seat he took over earlier this year after Republican Rep. Don Manning died in office. This week Cutrona staved off a challenge from Democrat Chris Stanley for the post.
In 2018, Republican Michael Rulli was victorious in capturing Ohio’s 33rd District Senate seat, representing parts of Mahoning and Columbiana counties.
In Trumbull County on Tuesday, even state Rep. Mike O’Brien, D-Warren, who has held many elected posts for dozens of years and who never has lost an election, found himself leading challenger Martha Yoder, a Republican from Farmington in the 64th Statehouse district race, by an unofficial razor-thin margin of 370 votes out of the 45,580 that are counted so far.
And eight-term Democratic Congressman Tim Ryan received what must have been a shock from Republican Christina Hagan. While unsuccessful in her overall challenge, Hagan did manage to defeat Ryan of Howland in his home county, Trumbull, by about 1,000 votes, according to unofficial results.
One day after the election, Hagan said she counted her campaign as successful because it gave voters a “true alternative voice.”
Bravo! Alternatives are what elections are all about. Frankly, bipartisan politics is in no way a bad thing.
Certainly, the whole scenario must be an eye-opener for local Democrats who, for too many years, have remained extremely comfortable and unchallenged in their roles here.
We previously have urged the local Republican Party to strengthen its field of candidates for the sake of checks and balances in local government. Now, we are glad to see that occur.
Undoubtedly, a multi-party political system is crucial for the good of government operations and for the good of democracy. Without choice, the value of our election system is greatly diminished.