Columbus — There weren’t too many surprises in the May 6 primary election.
Most statewide candidates were uncontested, with the exception of one race pitting a party-endorsed candidate against an unknown Dayton man with no formal campaign.
The lone statewide issue, a public works bonding plan with wide bipartisan support and little public opposition, passed by a wide margin.
Fewer people cast ballots. A few new faces are headed to the state legislature. And Republicans snagged more votes than Democrats.
Here are 10 things you should know about the May 6 unofficial results:
1. Lower Turnout: Less than 17 percent of registered voters (about 1.3 million of 7.7 million) cast ballots May 6, according to the unofficial results.
The lowest turnout occurred in Jackson County, where 1,766 people out of 21,339 registered voters participated. Highland and Preble counties had the highest, with close to 29 percent turnouts.
The unofficial turnout totals mark the lowest voter participation in any even-year primary over the past decade.
About 25.5 percent of registered voters cast ballots in 2012, 23 percent in 2010, 46 percent in 2008, 24 percent in 2006 and 33 percent in 2004, according to results compiled by the secretary of state’s office.
2. GOP vs. Dems: More Republicans cast ballots for Gov. John Kasich (554,527) than Democrats for Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald and challenger Larry Ealy (435,171 combined), according to the unofficial results.
Ealy, an unknown candidate with no established campaign, managed nearly 17 percent of the vote (73,140), compared to 83 percent (362,031) for FitzGerald.
Among other Democratic statewide candidates, Sen. Nina Turner pulled in the most votes in her run for secretary of state, with 370,455.
Former Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper, running for attorney general, was second with 359,070, followed by Rep. John Carney (auditor) with 356,814 and Rep. Connie Pillich (treasurer) with 346,540.
Among other statewide Republicans, Attorney General Mike DeWine had 539,754, followed by Treasurer Josh Mandel with 501,859, Secretary of State Jon Husted with 501,025 and Auditor Dave Yost with 494,177.
3. School Levies: Voters OK’d 102 of 148 school tax issues on the primary ballot, according to the Ohio School Boards Association. Twenty-seven of 65 new tax issues were OK’d, while 75 of 83 renewals won passage.
“It is still an uphill battle to secure voter approval for new or additional money requests,” Damon Asbury, the association’s director of legislative services, said in a released statement. “But districts are most likely to be supported when asking for existing levies to be renewed or replaced.”
4. Debates: Pepper was first out of the gate May 7 with a debate challenge for Attorney General DeWine.
Pepper wants to have “at least five” formal debates around the state in coming months.
“The attorney general has a huge impact on so many issues that impact Ohio’s residents and communities, which is why Ohio voters deserve to see David Pepper and Mike DeWine debate and discuss these issues as often as possible,” Pepper’s spokesman, Peter Koltak, said in a released statement.
5. Ousted: Three members of the Ohio House lost to primary challengers.
One was expected: Rep. Peter Beck, who faces an indictment in connection to an investment fraud case, managed only 9 percent of the votes in a three-way race in the Republican primary for his seat. Paul Zeltwanger topped that contest with 51 percent of the vote.
Rep. Peter Stautberg (R-Hamilton County) was trailing former state Rep. Tom Brinkman Jr. in unofficial results, 54 percent-46 percent.
And Rep. Zack Milkovich (D-Akron) was falling to challenger Greta Johnson in unofficial results, 54 percent-46 percent.
6. Rematch: Looks like there will be a rematch in one of the closest races of 2012.
Incumbent Rep. Mike Dovilla (R-Berea) is set to again face Democrat Matt Patten.
Dovilla topped Patten in 2012, 27,735-27,613 (50.11 percent-49.89 percent).
It’s actually the third time the two have faced each other. Dovilla unseated Patten in 2010, 22,149-20,115 (52 percent-48 percent).
7. Seeking to Return: Several former lawmakers are vying to return to the legislature.
In addition to Brinkman and Patten, Democrat David Leland, who served in the Ohio House in the mid-1980s, is seeking a Columbus-area seat.
Former state Sen. and Supreme Court Justice Robert Cupp, a Republican, hopes to snag a seat representing the Lima area. Cupp served in the Ohio Senate for 16 years before being elected to the state’s top court. He lost the latter to Democrat William O’Neill two years ago.
Former state Rep. Kenny Yuko won a three-way race for the Democratic nomination to represent a Cleveland-area district in the Ohio Senate.
8. We Are Family: A number of family members of incumbent or former lawmakers secured party nominations to run in November for seats in the Ohio Legislature.
That list in includes Rick Redfern, brother of state Rep. and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island); Emilia Sykes, daughter of state Rep. Vernon Sykes (D-Akron); Michele Lepore-Hagan, wife of state Rep. Bob Hagan (D-Youngstown); and Sarah LaTourette, daughter of former Congressman Steven LaTourette, a Republican.
9. Issue 1: Voters overwhelmingly backed a renewal and funding increase for the state’s public works program, with 65 percent of ballots favoring the new 10-year bonding plan and 35 percent opposing (789,637-423,270).
The result was the highest margin in three renewals of the program (54 percent supported the bond plan in 2005 and 62 percent supported it in 1995). Seventy-one percent voted in favor of creating the program in 1987.
May 6 also was the first time the public works program was placed on the primary ballot, so the overall totals were much lower than the three previous votes.
A total of 1.2 million votes on the issue were recorded in unofficial results May 6. That compares to 2.8 million, 2.3 million and 2.4 million in 2005, 1995 and 1987, respectively.
10. Still More Counting: Remember, the May 6 results posted by the secretary of state’s office are unofficial.
There are still more than 21,000 absentee ballots outstanding, and determinations need to be made on 9,700-plus provisional ballots, the latter cast by voters whose eligibility was in question on Election Day.
According to Matt McClellan, spokesman for the secretary of state’s office, county elections boards will count absentee ballots received through May 16, as long as they are postmarked before Election Day. County boards have to finish their official canvas by May 27, and the secretary of state will compile the final results thereafter.
Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.