WASHINGTON, D.C. — As political campaigns are heating up ahead of the March 19 primary in Ohio, races for the U.S. House and Senate are seeing some interesting developments, including a political comeback, allegations of destroying evidence and even a social media post that many have alleged is racist.

What You Need To Know

  • Former Democratic congressman and two-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich announced another bid for the House, this time as an Independent

  • A dozen Republicans are vying for the seat of retiring Congressman Brad Wenstrup

  • Senate candidate Matt Dolan accused opponent Bernie Moreno of destroying evidence in a lawsuit

Here are some of the latest updates on the campaign trail:

In Ohio’s 7th District, former Democratic congressman and two-time presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich announced Jan. 24 he was running for Congress again, this time as an Independent.

“In a closely divided Congress, as an independent, my voice and vote will become pivotal. The 7th District of Ohio will become one of the most important districts,” Kucinich said in his announcement speech.

Kucinich became the country’s youngest big-city mayor in 1977 when he was elected mayor of Cleveland at age 31. He served one term as Cleveland mayor, and later served eight terms in Congress before he was defeated in the 2012 Democratic primary by Rep. Marcy Kaptur after Ohio’s congressional districts were redrawn.

He also twice ran for president, lost a primary bid for Ohio governor in 2018 and lost a primary bid for Cleveland mayor in 2021. Until October 2023, he served as campaign manager for Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s independent presidential campaign.

Kucinich’s recent history of running for so many offices—and losing—makes his latest bid against Congressman Max Miller, R-Ohio, a long shot, according to political analysts.

“Dennis is all about running for office and being an elected official and not really doing anything else,” said Dave Cohen, professor of political science and director of the Applied Politics Program at the University of Akron. “The fact that’s he running as an independent means that he could have a slight impact on the race, although the race is a Republican-leaning district by about +7 or so, so that Republican running has a definite advantage.”

In Ohio’s 2nd District, a dozen Republicans are running to succeed retiring Congressman Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio. One is Derek Myers, a former journalist who sought to join the Chillicothe City Council in 2022 as a Democrat.

Myers also published a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, against opponent State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, that many have claimed was racist.

Myers wrote in a statement,

“The tweet in question has nothing to do with my opponent’s ethnicity but with his lack of residency and connection to our district.”

Despite the controversy, the crowded field gives Myers a real chance in a solidly red district.

“He’s clearly trying to be the most controversial candidate,” Cohen said. “He has a chance because it is a multi-person primary. Whoever wins the Republican primary is going to be the next congressperson from that district, so somebody that can emerge with a very low percentage win—because you’ve got a dozen people running—can essentially just walk into a congressional seat because of the way that district is gerrymandered.”

In the high-profile U.S. Senate race, the three Republicans seeking the GOP nomination to challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, had some heated exchanges at a debate on Jan. 22.

State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, hammered opponent Bernie Moreno for allegedly destroying documents in a wage theft lawsuit against him.

“You shredded those documents because it helped Bernie Moreno,” Dolan said at the debate.

As part of a lawsuit filed against Moreno on allegations that he did not pay employees proper overtime, a court ruled in August 2022 that Moreno “lost or destroyed evidence that they were required to preserve and which they knew or should have known was relevant.” The document also noted that the “plaintiff’s argument of wholesale destruction of relevant time records is overblown.”

The allegations likely won’t hurt Moreno in the primary, political analysts said, because former President Donald Trump has endorsed him. However, the general election is another story.

“Absolutely it could impact him in the general election but right now Moreno is trying to win a primary,” Cohen said. “He doesn’t care about the general election at this point. He just needs to get through and survive the primary and then worry about the general election later.”

Ohio races are attracted a lot of money. So far, candidates running for U.S. House and Senate seats in Ohio have raised about $52 million.