State race could pit O’Brien against O’Brien

WARREN — It could be O’Brien vs. O’Brien in next year’s race for the Ohio Senate’s 32nd District seat.

Sandy O’Brien, a former 12-year Ashtabula County auditor, said she’s going to seek the Republican nomination for the seat.

She will challenge incumbent state Sen. Sean J. O’Brien, D-Bazetta, who’s running for re-election in 2020 for a second four-year term.

“I’ve always had an interest in public service,” said Sandy O’Brien, who lives in Lenox Township in Ashtabula County. “I can bring effective leadership to this seat. This is a little bit different for me. I’ve been on the administrative end, and this is the legislative end. I’m ready to do the job.”

The district includes all of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties and a portion of Geauga County.

O’Brien was first elected Ashtabula County auditor in 1994 and served for 12 years.

“I have a real strong background in county finance,” she said. “I understand budgeting and GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) accounting. I understand the job very well.”

She unsuccessfully ran for a state House seat in her home county in 2000. She won the 2006 Republican primary for state treasurer but lost the general election to Democrat Richard Cordray. She also failed to win GOP primaries in 2010 for secretary of state and in 2018 for state treasurer.

Dec. 18 is the filing deadline for Democrats and Republicans to file for the March 17, 2020, primary.

Chris DePizzo, who lost the 13th Congressional District race last year to U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, announced earlier this week that he would not run for this Senate seat.

Sean J. O’Brien, the Senate assistant minority whip, said much is going on in the district and he first has to see how the Democratic primary shakes out before concentrating on a general-election opponent.

He received 56.4 percent of the vote in the 2016 election.

Before that, O’Brien served three two-year terms in the Ohio House.

Meanwhile, Republican Martha Yoder, a former Farmington Township trustee, is planning to run next year for the Ohio House’s 64th District seat, currently held by state Rep. Michael J. O’Brien, D-Warren.

She unsuccessfully challenged O’Brien last year and in 2016. O’Brien won in 2018 with 54.8 percent of the vote and with 55.4 percent of the vote in 2016.

O’Brien is seeking his fourth two-year term next year. He is also a former Warren mayor, Trumbull County commissioner and Warren city councilman.

The district includes about half of Trumbull County and a southern portion of Ashtabula County.