Putting a stamp on it, Ohio Congressional candidate Joyce Beatty received a vote of confidence from the state’s group of influential Black representatives. They have officially endorsed her for the March 6th primary race for Ohio’s 3rd Congressional district.
The Ohio Black Legislative Caucus personally interviewed all four primary candidates for the 3rd district seat — including former Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy, state Rep. Ted Celeste, Priscilla Tyson, and Beatty. They chose Beatty because her values and plans for the Congressional seat appeared to align most-closely with those of the group.
It probably doesn’t hurt that she used to serve in the Ohio House from 1999-2008.
“All of the potential candidates are immensely dedicated public servants, with decades of experience between them,” said Sandra Williams, the OLBC president, in a written statement. Williams is a state representative from the Cleveland area.
“Our endorsement of Joyce Beatty was based on her experience, her leadership, and her talent. We have faith that she will be a great advocate for the 3rd Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives,” Williams added.
Beatty’s endorsement from the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus is well-timed, however. Beatty faces the issue of name recognition against another candidate for the slot. Kilroy used to serve in the current 15th Congressional district, some of which will become part of the new 3rd. The one term she served ended in 2011. She’s desperate for a comeback.
Beatty, however, is not the only African American running for the Congressional seat. Priscilla Tyson, a Columbus City Council member, is also seeking the Democratic slot. In addition, endorsing Beatty means the Black Caucus is being given the green light by both the state and national Democratic party leadership.
Electing an African American to Ohio’s new 3rd Congressional district would be a power move in the state for a few reasons. The district encompasses rapidly-growing Franklin County, the state’s second largest. Central Ohio is interesting because it’s a meeting point between the more liberal northeastern part of the state and the conservative southern end. The newly-drawn district is less conservative than the previous districts that covered the area because it covers more urban territory. A Democrat is almost guaranteed to win in the November election.
Currently, Rep. Marcia Fudge of the Cleveland area is the only other Black representative from the Ohio delegation in Congress. With redistricting taking place and the state losing two Congressional seats for a total of 16, it is important to increase the Black voice in Congress. African Americans in Fudge’s district, for instance, find themselves packed even more tightly in a majority-minority voting area. The addition of the new 3rd district will add another Democratic-leaning voting area in the state.
Ohio is an important battleground state in both midterm and presidential elections. So, presidential campaigns look to Ohio’s people and its representatives during critical election times. Having Black representation, or at least a Democrat, will help even out the state’s voice in Congress. As of now, only five of the 18 Congress members from the state are Democrats.
If elected to Congress, Beatty will represent an area that covers much of the city of Columbus and some of its inner ring suburbs. Similar to many other races across the country, the economy is a top priority in the 3rd district. The state of Ohio was hard-hit during the Great Recession, though the state’s unemployment rate of 8.1 percent was better than the national average. Reducing crime, improving schools, and other quality of life issues are ones that Beatty will face if chosen to serve in Washington, D.C.