Joel O’Dorisio credits his strong union background and the recently resonating union message during the age of the coronavirus for his winning the Democratic Party Primary for Ohio State Senate District 2.
“We just stayed steady with our message. I’m a union person and I just want the workers of Ohio to get a fair shake for the work that they do. Especially now, with everybody losing their job, and healthcare becoming so critical during this COVID-19 outbreak, it just brought back the fact that Democratic policies are the policies that this country needs to move forward out of this crisis,” O’Dorisio said.
O’Dorisio topped Reem Subei in Fulton, Ottawa and Erie counties, while Subei won Lucas and Wood counties. The district tally at the end of the night was O’Dorisio 52.7%, with 11,492 votes to Subei’s 47.5% and 10,408 votes.
“We’ve had this primary twice, from my perspective. I wouldn’t have expected these results six weeks ago,” O’Dorisio said. “I’m still sort of taking this in. I’m really excited and looking forward to the general. I’m happy with how the campaign went. I feel like Reem was an outstanding candidate. We ran the best campaign that we could.”
O’Dorisio is an advocate for educational reforms for both secondary school and higher education. He is also a labor advocate that has worked toward higher wages and competitive benefits.
O’Dorisio is a teaching professor at Bowling Green State University and a leader in the American Association of University Professors. He was part of the card campaign that formed the BGSU chapter and served on contract negotiation teams.
He said that the university has benefited from having the union, in the form of higher rankings in student satisfaction from independent organizations.
“Unions, in general, have been leading the fight for workers for the last 100 years,” O’Dorisio said.
Heading into the general election he will face Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green. She was appointed to the position when then-Sen. Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, was appointed to become the chancellor for the Department of Higher Education for the state. Gavarone ran unopposed to win the nomination for the seat in the Republican Primary.
O’Dorisio sees a hard campaign ahead, but one with clear differences between the candidates.
“The differences between Ms. Subei and I were like splitting hairs. I think the differences between me and the current Republican candidate are very dynamic,” O’Dorisio said. “We see that the essential workers are the people that are driving the trucks and stocking the food at the grocery stores and the people that are bringing the packages to our doors. We need to make sure to recognize the essential nature of all the workers. That message is what helped bring us over the finish line.”
All results are unofficial and do not include provisional ballots cast or absentee ballots mailed by Monday. Valid provisional ballots will be included in the official count to be held no later than 21 days after the election.