Isaacsohn Seeks Re-Election

Around 100 people gathered at the LoVe on Fourth nightclub for State Rep. Dani Isaacsohn’s (D-Cincinnati) reelection campaign kick-off. In the crowd were several Cincinnati politicians, including City Council members Meeka Owens and Reggie Harris, County Commissioner Denise Driehaus, Mayor Aftab Pureval, and newly sworn-in Judge Samantha Silverstein.

The event served as more than just a campaign kickoff for Isaacsohn; it marked the beginning of the Hamilton County Democratic Party’s 2024 campaign season. Throughout the speeches, both Pureval and Isaacsohn emphasized that the party’s success in 2024 hinges on re-electing U.S. Representative Greg Landsman and Senator Sherrod Brown.

Isaacsohn, a Cincinnati native, is finishing his freshmen term in the Ohio State House. In spite of being a freshman, he has made gains in a state government dominated by a Republican supermajority.

“Dani ran and won that first race, it was challenging, but he was successful,” said Pureval. “But after the election is when the real work happens.”

Isaacsohn and his democratic colleagues are a super minority in the Ohio Legislature, and their work has seen what Isaacsohn told the gathered crowd were “small wins.”

“We do lose more than we win on universal school vouchers, to tax cuts for people who need them the least, to discrimination against our LGBTQ young people and their families,” Isaacsohn said. “The Republicans are up to no good in Columbus, and we are fighting hard against them.”

The Republican supermajority presents a significant obstacle for Democrats and progressives in Ohio, which is considered one of the most gerrymandered states in the U.S. by voting rights advocates. Despite the disparity in redistricting in Ohio, Democrats and progressives achieved a massive victory in 2023, passing Issue 1, which enshrined women’s reproductive rights, including the right to an abortion, in the state constitution.

“The path to changing Ohio doesn’t lie in begging Republicans to do the right thing,” Isaacsohn told the crowd. “We will see real change in Ohio only by voting for it when we are winning statewide elections and flipping the state legislature. And in 2023, we proved that it’s possible.”

For Isaacsohn and the Democratic party, a key to building on the momentum of the wins of 2023 includes passing a new ballot initiative that would amend the state constitution to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians.

Despite challenges in the House, Isaacsohn and his Democratic colleagues secured a 13% increase in public education funding statewide. For Isaacsohn, this achievement marks a step towards Democratic victories in Ohio. He emphasized the importance of boosting education funding not only in Cincinnati but also in Appalachia and other communities.

His visits to schools in rural Appalachian areas revealed that their challenges are similar to those in urban districts, underscoring the opportunity for shared solutions.

“The path to a better future in Ohio is building an Urban Appalachian coalition,” he said.

Another key aspect of his hope for the future is engaging the elusive youth vote. Isaacsohn pointed to neighboring states, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania that have dramatically increased their youth turnout.

“We had huge youth turnout in 2018 and 2023,” he said. “So we can do it. We just need to organize around issues that specifically matter to that community.”

To Isaacsohn, fighting for voting rights and education funding is a reflection of his Jewish values.

“It’s natural for me to lean into the Jewish values of social justice and fighting for people who have the least,” he said.

Despite the challenges he faces in this campaign, including a primary challenger, Isaacsohn remains hopeful for the future of Ohio.

“The wind is at our backs; we have momentum for the first time in decades,” Isaacsohn told the crowd. “But it is on us to organize and turn out our community.”