Rep. Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, is officially in the running for the 2022 Ohio Senate District 17 race.

COLUMBUS— The 2021 Election concluded three weeks ago on Tuesday and candidates for next year are already making themselves known.

On Monday, Ohio Rep. Shane Wilkin, R-Hillsboro, announced he will be a candidate for Ohio’s 17th Senate District in 2022.

Wilkin has served as the state representative for Ohio’s 91st House District — which includes Pike County — since 2018 and he was previously elected three terms as a Highland County Commissioner.

“It has been a great honor for me to serve the people of the 91st District in the Ohio House,” said Wikin in a statement. “During my time as state representative, I have worked tirelessly to help businesses remain open during the pandemic and bring significant resources back to our community to create jobs so the families of our district can thrive. I have been able to use my experience as a small business owner to cut wasteful government spending and put more money back into your pocket where it belongs.”

In both his 2018 and 2020 campaigns, Wilkin carried Pike County in significant margins — most recently taking 69% of the vote last November over Waverly Democrat Scott Dailey.

Last week, the Ohio Senate passed the “Business Fairness Act,” crafted by Wilkin and Rep. Rep. Jon Cross, R-Kenton, which would permit all businesses to operate by the same standard during pandemics, epidemics, or bioterrorism events.

State Sen. Bob Peterson, R-Washington Court House, who currently serves in the Senate seat, cannot seek re-election due to term limits. Peterson served as President Pro Tempore of the Ohio Senate during the 133rd, 132nd and the second half of the 131st General Assembly.

Wilkin’s current House district, the 91st, would not include Pike County in the recently redrawn Ohio General Assembly district maps.

Passed by the Ohio Redistricting Commission in September, the 91st would now include Highland, Clinton, and Fayette counties. Pike County would belong to the 93rd House District, currently led by Rep. Jason Stephens, R-Kits Hill. That district would also include Jackson and Lawrence counties.

Legal challenges, however, have been mounted against these maps which will last four years instead of 10 since no Democrats supported the Ohio House and Senate maps.

The latest lawsuit comes from a trio of religious and environmental groups — Ohio Organizing Collaborative, the Council on American-Islamic Relations of Ohio, the Ohio Environmental Council — who claim the ORC’s plan “dilutes the voting power of Ohio voters who tend to support Democrats.”

According to the suit, the new maps would favor Republicans in 64.4% of the districts despite the statewide proportion of voters favoring Republican candidates over the past 10 years being 54%.

“The Ohio Redistricting Commission’s own analysis highlights the brazenness of

the district plan’s partisan gerrymander and the bad faith of the underlying process,” the suit reads.

As reported by the Ohio Capital Journal, spokespersons for ORC co-chair and House Speaker Bob Cupp, R-Lima, and commission member and Senate President Matt Huffman, R-Lima, have denied the claims that the maps are unconstitutional.

Contact Patrick Keck at pkeck@newswatchman.com or by phone at 740-947-2149, ext. 300431 and follow him on Twitter @pkeckreporter.

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