The closest local election race during Tuesday’s special primary election turned out to be for a woman to serve on the Republican State Central Committee for District 19.
According to unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office, Melanie Leneghan won with 8,385 votes, or 46.1% of the vote. She defeated Carol O’Brien, who had 6,639 (36.5%) votes; Kelly O’Brien 1,272 (7%); Nicole Justice 1,035 (5.7%); and Andrea Dalton 853 (4.7%). Carol O’Brien was the Delaware County Republican Party’s endorsed candidate. Leneghan’s margin of victory was closer in Delaware County, 44.8% to 41.4% for Carol O’Brien.
For the men running for the Republican State Central Committee for District 19, Gary James won handily, with 7,699 (43%) of the vote, followed by Jack Etheridge 4,744 (26.5%), Fred L. Dailey 3,741 (21%) and Robin C. Hovis 1,728 (9.5%).
The Delaware County Conservatives political organization posted on their Facebook page, “We won HUGE tonight!! Congrats to Melanie Leneghan for Republican State Central Committee and Gary James for not only winning huge, but for carrying Delaware County! Congrats on the decisive wins!!!”
The Democrats also voted for its party’s State Central Committee in District 19. Mary C. Rugola-Dye ran unopposed, receiving 5,536 votes. For the men, Joydeep Gupta won with 3,476 (60.2%) votes over John K. Hartman 2,295 (39.8%).
“My sincere thanks to Delaware, Knox, Holmes and Coshocton counties, and all of you for your support, your vote, your encouragement, and for everything,” read a post on the Joydeep Gupta for Ohio Democratic Party Central Committee Senate District-19 Facebook page. “I look forward to staying engaged and continuing our work.”
For state senator in District 19, Heather M. Swiger won the Democratic primary, receiving 3,962 votes (68.5%) to Chrissie Hinshaw’s 1,818 votes (31.5%).
“Thank you to everyone who took the time to get out and cast your vote entrusting me to be the Democratic nominee in District 19,” read a post on the Swiger for State Senate Facebook page. “There is a lot of work to do in the next 100 days and I will need all of you to get in the fight with me. Know when I take Senator Brenner’s seat, I will work hard for you and your families just like I would my own. Tomorrow the real work begins. Let’s do this!”
Each political party’s central committees serve as the governing body for their state.
State Sen. Andrew O. Brenner (R-District 19) ran unopposed, receiving 16,559 votes. He will face Swiger in the November election. District 19 in the Ohio Senate consists of Coshocton, Delaware, Holmes and Knox counties.
Republican Kris Jordan ran unopposed for state representative in District 60, receiving 5,005 votes. No petition was filed by the Democrats. The 60th District comprises the western half of Delaware County. It was formerly the 67th District.
In the race for the Republican nomination for state representative in District 61, challenger Beth Lear beat incumbent Shawn Stevens. Lear received 4,685 (58%) votes; Stevens had 3,354 (42%) votes, with a similar margin of victory in Delaware County. Stevens was endorsed by the Delaware County Republican Party.
“We did it!” said a post on the Beth Lear for State Representative Facebook page. “All thanks to the hard work of dozens of volunteers, too many to count, and conservative voters! Thank you, Delaware and Knox Counties, — on to the General (election)!”
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, the Delaware County Republican Party congratulated all the Republican candidates who won on Tuesday.
“Good luck in November and let’s keep Delaware County RED!” the post said.
Lear will face Democrat Louise Valentine in November. Valentine ran unopposed, receiving 2,329 votes. The 61st District includes the southeastern half of Delaware County and the western half of Knox County, so not all county voters will see their names on their ballots. This was formerly the 68th District.
“Congratulations to Heather Swiger, Louise Valentine, and Joydeep Gupta for winning their Primary contests!” the Delaware County Democratic Party — Ohio posted on Facebook Wednesday morning. “Also, thanks to Chrissie Hinshaw and John Hartman for putting their names on the ballot! We need every good candidate and supporters!”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.