The upcoming primary election is presenting a lot of choices for voters in Ohio’s 12th congressional district.

The surprising resignation of veteran Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi created an unexpected open seat, and a lot of candidates have jumped onto the ballot. 

Voters in the 12th district will have to vote twice for their congressional representative — once for who will appear on the special election ballot in August and finish Tiberi’s unexpired term and once for whi will appear on the November ballot and start a new term in January. 

There are a total of 18 candidates running for Tiberi’s seat. Here’s what you need to know about the people stumping for your vote: 


Troy Balderson

The 12th district has been in Republican hands since 1983, and Tiberi wants to keep it that way. Tiberi has endorsed State Senator Troy Balderson. Over the years, Balderson has also worked as a farmer in Adamsville, Ohio, and as a car dealer. Balderson says he is pro-life, a supporter of the Second Amendment and believes in the government getting out of the way of job creators. 

Melanie Leneghan

Melanie Leneghan (R-Liberty Township) is a businesswoman and Liberty Township trustee, running as a Christian conservative and supporter of President Donald J. Trump. She is heavily backed by the Congressional Freedom Caucus, which was created by Ohio Congressman Jim Jordan. No other grouop in Congress is farther to the right. 

Kevin Bacon

Republican State Senator Kevin Bacon has a lot of name recognition. He is an attorney who has worked for Farmers Insurance and the Ohio Department of Commerce. He previously served as a Blendon Township trustee and is a self-described pro-life, pro-gun conservative. 

John Adams

Republican John Adams is an Air Force veteran and former Portsmouth City Council and school board member as well as the owner of an industrial manufacturing company. He says he is running for “God and country.” Adams previously ran for Congress in Ohio’s third congressional district. 

Lawrence Cohen

New Albany attorney Lawrence Cohen says he has conservative credentials and supports Trump’s call to “drain the swamp.” He wants to cut unnecessary taxes and regulations, protect the border and protect the Second Amendment. 

Jon Halvestadt

Jon Halvestadt is an Army veteran who holds a law degree and master’s degree in business administration from The Ohio State University. He works in real estate and supports the rebuilding of the military, securing the border, fair trade and the elimination of the Affordable Care Act. 

Tim Kane

Tim Kane of Dublin, Ohio, describes himself as a conservative economist and national security expert. He is a graduate of the Air Force Academy and has a PhD in economics. He said he has spent time researching job creation by entrepreneurs. 

Carol O’Brien

Carol O’Brien is backed by the GOP in Delaware County, where she serves as county prosecutor. She describes herself as a dedicated constitutional conservative who has successfully prosecuted murderers, drug traffickers and organized crime. O’Brien opposes burdensome business regulations and supports transparency in government. 

Mick Shoemaker

Republican Mick Shoemaker worked as a government affairs professional, Columbus City Schools board member and says that these days he is a small business owner and blue collar worker. Shoemaker says his faith and his family serve as his bedrock. He is pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and believes marriage is between one man and one woman. 


Danny O’Connor

Franklin County Recorder Danny O’Connor is backed by Democratic Party leaders including Congresswoman Joyce Beatty. O’Connor, an attorney, worked in the Franklin County prosecutor’s office before he became county recorder in 2016. He says he is running for Congress to expand health care coverage and to protect Medicare and Social Security. 

Zach Scott

Former Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott is well-known in central Ohio. He served as a deputy for 25 years before being elected sheriff. He lost his bid to be mayor of Columbus to Andrew Ginther. He says he is committed to attracting businesses and jobs and says his experience in law enforcement will help with issues like national security and fighting the opioid epidemic. 

Ed Albertson

Licking County businessman and Army veteran Ed Albertson sought election to the 12th district in 2016. He says he believes in equal rights with no distinction for gender, race or faith. Albertson is a gun owner who believes in common sense gun solutions and supports infrastructure improvements and a living wage for workers.

Jackie Patton

Jackie Patton is a Worthington native who says she is running on a “send a nurse to Washington to fix it” platform. Patton says she is passionate about promoting health in communities and will work for bipartisan solutions to Washington’s problems.

John Peters

John Peters of Marion, Ohio, is a young father of two and an educator running on a “for our families” platform. He says he will work for working families, and not for a political party or its donors. 

John Russell

Democrat John Russell is a farmer and small business owner in Galena. He graduated from Cornell with an ag degree and says “as the working class goes, so goes the country.”

Doug Wilson

Doug Wilson is a health care worker and was a council member before becoming mayor of Ashley. He said he’s running to fix health car and for common sense gun control.