Republicans take state, federal offices

By TODD HELBERG Published:

Republicans were six for six Tuesday in races for state and federal legislative seats that represent northwest Ohioans.

In the U.S. 5th District race, Republican incumbent Robert Latta of Bowling Green easily won a three-candidate race that included Democrat Angela Zimmann and Libertarian Eric Eberly.

The final tally across the district -- which will represent 11 northwest Ohio counties and parts of three others in the U.S. House of Representatives beginning in 2013 -- was Latta, 191,892; Zimmann, 131,575; and Eberly, 11,657.

"I look forward to representing the people once again in Congress," said Latta whose district includes the entire Defiance six-county area. "It's the greatest privilege and honor you can have to represent and serve them in Washington."

Latta won all 14 counties in securing a fourth, two-year term. Latta's narrowest margins were in Lucas and Ottawa counties -- portions of which are in the district -- where Zimman came within 2 percentage points of him.

Winners in races for Ohio House and Senate seats representing the area were Republican Tony Burkley of rural Payne in the 82nd House District, Republican Lynn Wachtmann of Napoleon in the 81st House District, Republican Barbara Sears of Lucas County in the 47th House District, Republican Cliff Hite of Findlay in the 1st Senate District and Republican Randy Gardner of Bowling Green in the 2nd Senate District.

The new borders of the above districts come into being in January, following redistricting prompted by the 2010 Census.

Burkley, a four-term Paulding County commissioner, defeated Independent Pete Schlegel in the 82nd race for a two-year term by winning almost 59 percent of the vote. The vote count was 22,922 for Burkley and 15,961 for Schlegel.

"I'm anxious to get started working on some of the problems Ohio is facing right now," said Burkley. "I enjoy, and feed on, these type of challenges. There are a lot of issues we need to get moving on as far as jobs and so forth.

Burkley called Schlegel "a formidable opponent " who " worked hard. We had a spirited contest, and I compliment Pete on his willingness to run."

The new 82 House District will represent Defiance, Paulding and Van Wert counties as well as the northwest corner of Auglaize County, and is drawn from the current 74th, 75th and 78th House districts.

All four counties went for Burkley. His biggest margin was in Auglaize County (6,166-3,283), followed by Paulding County (5,404-3,112), Van Wert County (3,106-1,972) and Defiance County (8,246-7,594).

In the 81st District race, Wachtmann easily turned back Democrat John Vanover of Montpelier by winning 68 percent of the vote. The final count: 35,948 for Wachtmann, 16,841 for Vanover.

Wachtmann wins a two-year term to represent Henry, Putnam and Williams counties as well as the southeast corner of Fulton County beginning in 2013. He won all four counties handily, receiving a high of 78 percent in Putnam County and 56.7 percent in Fulton County.

The totals, by county -- Fulton: Wachtmann, 3,567, Vanover, 2,720; Henry: Wachtmann, 8,785, Vanover, 4,299; Putnam: Wachtmann, 13,709, Vanover, 3,670; and Williams: Wachtmann, 9,887, Vanover, 6,152.

Wachtmann is finishing his third term as representative of the 75th District which is compromised of Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Van Wert counties as well as Defiance County's Adams Township.

In the 47th District race, Sears defeated Democrat Jeff Bunck by winning 60 percent of the vote. The count was 34,935-23,116.

Sears presently represents the 46th District which is composed of western Lucas County. In January, the new 47th District will represent the western portion of Lucas County as well as most of Fulton County, including Archbold and Wauseon.

Fulton County voters supported Sears, 8,307-4,197, while Lucas County voters gave her a 26,628-18,919 edge.

The 1st Senate District race was no contest as Hite won the remaining two years of Republican Steve Buehrer's unexpired four-year term without opposition. Buehrer stepped down from the seat just after his re-election in 2010, taking a position as head of the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation.

Hite received 99,950 votes.

Meanwhile, Gardner won the 2nd District seat which will represent Erie, Ottawa and Wood counties, western Lucas County and much of Fulton County, minus the southeast corner which remains part of the 1st District. All of Fulton County had been part of the 1st District prior to redistricting.

In winning a four-year term, Gardner received 100,272 votes while Democrat Jeff Bretz tallied 70,663. Gardner's margin in Fulton County was 8,243-4,166.

Republican Mark Wagoner of Ottawa Hills decided not to seek re-election for the 2nd District seat.

In another election affecting northwest Ohio voters, Ann Jacobs of Lima defeated Stanley Jackson of Marion, for the Ohio State School Board's 1st District covering 20 counties and parts of two others.

Jacobs won almost 65 percent of the vote, and will receive a four-year term on the 19-member board. She will represent all local counties except a small portion of Fulton County.

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