Democrat David Hogan will try to unseat incumbent Republican Andrew Brenner in the Nov. 6 race to represent the new 67th Ohio House District.
Previously encompassed by the 2nd District, Delaware County now is split between the new 67th and 68th districts. The 67th district includes virtually all of the county west of 3B's and K Road and the Orange-Genoa township boundary.
Brenner, 41, was voted into the office in 2010 and narrowly defeated Craig Schweitzer on this year's primary ballot. He previously served as Delaware County recorder with a background in the mortgage and property development industry.
The Republican backed Gov. John Kasich's two-year budget, which closed an $8 million deficit, but with big cuts to funding for schools and local government. Brenner fought to eliminate Ohio's estate tax as part of the budget deal.
"I'd rather let local municipalities make decisions on local spending rather than have dictates from the state," Brenner said.
"Ohio is now No. 1 in the Midwest in job growth thanks to the reforms we put in place."
Brenner said the state's school funding mechanisms are due for an overhaul. He said school districts should be compensated on a per-student basis, and overfunding low-performing districts undercuts rapidly growing districts such as Olentangy.
The achievement gap between districts can be closed with new reforms that make it easier to fire bad teachers, he said.
"There's no correlation between spending and results," he said.
Brenner opposes State Issue 2. He said the state's redistricting process may be due for reform, but said the court-appointed redistricting board the law would put in place would be unaccountable to voters and legislators.
He said the state should wait for the results of the presidential election before drawing up plans for an insurance exchange mandated under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act, which Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has promised to repeal if elected.
Brenner backs efforts to curb early voting opportunities for Ohioans in the name of fairness. He said the elections boards in counties such as Democratic-leaning Franklin County have bigger budgets to hold early voting hours than those such as Republican-leaning Delaware County.
"We already have plenty of early voting," he said. "Why is it some counties should get hours that are extended way beyond the others?"
Brenner said the legislature has put in place the right protections to cautiously move forward with hydraulic fracturing, often called fracking, which he said is a boon for the state's economy.
"It creates jobs and it leads to energy independence," he said. "It's great for Ohio."
Brenner also is a strong opponent of abortion and touts a pro-gun record.
He lives in Powell with his wife, Powell City Councilwoman Sara Marie Brenner.
Hogan, 53, teaches American history at Heidelberg University. He ran unopposed in the March primary.
The Democratic candidate said growing Ohio's economy is paramount, but said big tax incentives to draw businesses to the state aren't a perfect solution.
"You do have to make a reasonable tax climate, with an emphasis on reasonable," he said.
"Frankly, I don't want businesses that are going to come in and pay minimum wage. Some types of jobs are nothing to build an economy on."
Hogan panned Kasich's two-year budget that erased Ohio's deficit but cut funding to schools and local government.
"Kasich and the legislature came in with a chain saw and started cutting, cutting, cutting," he said. "It's a very deceptive strategy when they claim they balanced the budget without raising taxes. They just put the burden back on the local taxpayer."
He called for more-consistent funding for Ohio's schools.
"I am not for wasteful spending, but the fact is that to get quality, you have to pay for it. You can't grow an economy with a poor school system."
He said fracking in the state should proceed, but slowly and with caution.
Hogan supports State Issue 2. He said the law's not perfect, but Ohio's legislative redistricting process needs reform to prevent gerrymandering.
He also supports a woman's right to choose abortion and said he's an advocate for Obama's healthcare reform law.
"I think healthcare is a basic right," he said. "My only problem with Obamacare is that it doesn't go far enough."
Still, the Democratic candidate said he's willing to buck what some perceive as mainstream party trends. He supports capital punishment and describes himself as an advocate of the Second Amendment, though he thinks background checks should be strict to keep firearms out of the hands of felons and the mentally ill.
He said he thinks the controversy over curtailing early voting is overblown.
"The fact is, people have over a full month for early voting," he said. "I don't think those last three days make a big difference."
Hogan said voters should consider him as a more-moderate alternative to "party ideologues" on Election Day.
He lives in Delaware with his wife, Lee Ann. They have four children.