Republican Robert Latta has won the race to fill the congressional seat left open by fellow Republican Paul Gillmor, who died unexpectedly in September after a fall in his Washington home.
With all of the precincts reporting in the race involving 17 counties, including Huron County, Latta received 56,367 votes (56.87 percent), while Democrat Robin Weirauch received 42,563 (42.95 percent) and Independent John Green 180 (0.18 percent), according to unofficial results provided from the Ohio Secretary of State's office. The results must be certified later this month before they become official.
In Huron County, Latta took about 57 percent of the votes -- 3,259 for him, compared to 2,444 for Weirauch and 12 for Green.
"I am humbled by the outpouring of support I have received from across the 5th Congressional District," Latta said tonight. "I am looking forward to rolling up my sleeves and getting to work on the important issues facing the constituents of this district. I hope to continue representing this district in the same honor and integrity of Paul Gillmor and my father before him, Del Latta.
"The trust that the people have placed in me will always be the guiding light to accomplish great things for the 5th Congressional District of Ohio," Latta continued.
"We need to get down to the business of putting aside petty partisan politics and start addressing the issues of importance. First, we have to create jobs by returning to a path of fiscal responsibility and lower taxes. We also need to stand up for the traditional values we hold dear. Also, the issues of illegal immigration and becoming energy independent within the next ten years will be two of my top priorities. It is critically important that we need to support our troops in their mission of defending our nation against terrorists that wish to do us harm.
"I also want to take this opportunity to thank my family," Latta added. "My wife Marcia has been a rock. She has been a loving mother, a supportive spouse, and a top campaign advocate. My daughters, Elizabeth and Maria have endured their father being on the road every night for three months. I also want to take this opportunity to thank my parents, Del and Rose Mary Latta for instilling in me a passion to serve the public, and the values to guide my life.
"I look forward to getting to work immediately to be an advocate for the people of the 5th District. I commend Robin Weirauch for a spirited campaign, and I look forward to working with all constituents, regardless of party, to accomplish great things for our district, our state, and our country," Latta concluded.Redfern continued: "Desperate to hold on to a district they had controlled for nearly 70 years, national Republicans had to spend more than $428,000 - or nearly 20 percent of their entire campaign account. Now the GOP - with even fewer resources on hand - will be even less equipped to play effectively in the four to five competitive House races in Ohio in 2008. Make no make mistake, this election shows that in November 2008, voters in Ohio and across the country will choose strong Democrats who will undo the damage of the Bush-Cheney years."
Chris Redfern, the Ohio Democratic Party chairman, had this to say about the outcome: "Tonight's election results show Republicans are more vulnerable than ever in Ohio. In a district that George W. Bush carried with 61 percent of the vote and where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by 50 percent, the GOP had to scramble to win a special election that should have been a cake walk."
Redferd continued: "Desperate to hold on to a district they had controlled for nearly 70 years, national Republicans had to spend more than $428,000 - or nearly 20 percent of their entire campaign account. Now the GOP - with even fewer resources on hand - will be even less equipped to play effectively in the four to five competitive House races in Ohio in 2008. Make no make mistake, this election shows that in November 2008, voters in Ohio and across the country will choose strong Democrats who will undo the damage of the Bush-Cheney years."
Ohio Republican Party chairman Bob Bennett countered with this: "Bob Latta won this race despite all the firepower state and national Democrats could provide. He held back the 20-to-one fundraising advantage of majority Democrats, the vast resources of Big Labor and the personal appeals of Barack Obama, John Edwards and Nancy Pelosi.
"The outcome is a clear rejection of a popular governor who spent enormous political capital on this race, and it's a sign that voters are tired of the worn-out rhetoric from a party that has nothing more to offer than a sad fixation on yesterday's news," Bennett continued.
"This is still a race we could have lost. Our candidate came out of a nasty primary wounded and broke. He was dramatically weakened by a vicious primary battle that angered voters, embarrassed the party and disgraced the honorable legacy of Paul Gillmor. Republicans cannot allow those nuclear primary tactics to continue if we expect to win future elections," Bennett concluded.
The other counties in the 5th Congressional District are Ashland, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot. The Wood County Board of Elections will tabulate the final unofficial results for the special election that took place today. The polls closed at 7:30 p.m.
For background on the race, visit this link: http://www.norwalkreflector.com/articles/2007/12/11/front/doc475f4a1503bcf879686544.txt
A story with comments from the candidates will appear in Wednesday's Norwalk Reflector.