The 2024 US Senate race in Ohio officially began with the way the Republican speaker's election for the Ohio House of Representatives ended.
We explain what this means. Ohio politics explained this week. A podcast created by the Ohio office of the USA TODAY Network to reach you in 15 minutes or less.
This week, host Anne Staver is joined by the head of the State House Office, Anthony Shoemaker.
1) To run
There is a race to see if a Republican can beat a Democratic US Senator this year. He could beat Sherrod Brown in 2024.
State Sen. Matt Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, announced his candidacy this week.
"The midterm elections have shown us nationally that if the Republicans stop the people they targeted yesterday, if they do these grievance campaigns, we're going to lose," Dolan told the Ohio bureau of the USA TODAY network.
That same year, Dolan finished third in a crowded Republican race to replace outgoing US Sen. Rob Portman in 2022. And while he's the first candidate to make the leap to 2024, it's doubtful he'll be the last.
2) Expand the terms of marijuana
Medical marijuana advocates continue to fight for people with autism to use the drug to treat their symptoms.
The State Medical Board received several applications late last year and will review them in the coming months.
Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic lawmakers say they plan to push through legislation to add autism to the list of legal medical conditions for marijuana use.
The bipartisan bill passed the House of Representatives in 2022 but did not receive a vote in the state Senate.
3) The Republican Party remains divided
Republicans hold 67 of the state's 99 seats, but the vast majority of the GOP is in no hurry with their agenda.
Instead, they continue to debate how the controversial vote to choose a new House speaker went.
45 of them seem to stay with the representative. Derek Merrin, R-Monclova Borough, for being elected Speaker by House Republicans in an informal vote in November. The remaining 22 are in the Rep aisle. Rep. Jason Stephenson, R-Keats Hill, joins 32 House Democrats in running for House Speaker.
"It will absolutely stop [Stevens] and bring destruction," said David Niven, a Cincinnati professor of political science. "Democrats can push their agenda like never before."
4) unemployment fraud
In the summer of 2021, Ohio unemployment insurance officials said they noticed a subcontractor had entered their data at a different time.
This investigation revealed that government officials, subcontractors, their friends and family members have embezzled more than $10 million.
The names of those involved have not been released because officials are still investigating, said Bill Tites, a spokesman for Ohio Job and Family Services.
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This article originally appeared on the Columbus Dispatch, Ohio: Societal Corruption, Cannabis for Autism, and Working with the Republican Party.