There were no surprises in the race for the 68th Ohio House of Representatives seat, as Republican Rick Carfagna ran up a solid majority in Knox County and appeared to be doing the same in Delaware County.
In Knox County, Carfagna ended the night with a majority of 17,535 to 9,010 for Democrat John Russell, a margin of 65.97 percent to 33.9 percent, with the remaining 36 votes going to write-in candidate Douglas Crowl.
All three candidates are from Delaware County.
Results were slow to come in from Delaware County and by 10:45 p.m., only 19 of the 52 precincts plus early votes in the 68th district had been counted, but Carfagna was running well ahead, 12,676 (67.01 percent) to 6,199 (72.77 percent) for Russell and 41 (.22 percent) for Crowl.
Carfagna issued a statement saying, “I’m grateful to the people of Delaware and Knox Counties for entrusting me with this enormous responsibility. I’d also like to commend my opponent for running an earnest and spirited campaign. He had an excellent ground game and he kept us on our toes during this entire race. He took this campaign very seriously, and so we took him seriously.
“Our state and local communities are facing numerous challenges, and there will be plenty of issues to tackle in the coming year. I’m anxious to roll up my sleeves and begin identifying ways to make our region even better. I ask the public for their input, their patience, and most importantly, their prayers.”
Russell conceded he had lost, but said, “It was an amazing experience for me.”
During the campaign, he said, he and his staff and volunteers knocked on the second most doors of any statehouse campaign in Ohio.
“The effort was good to see and be a part of,” he said. “I had fun meeting people.
“That we were so thoroughly beaten makes the case for electoral reform as my opponent did essentially no campaigning while we hit the doors of 15,000 undecided voters.”
Russell said he got into the campaign because of the issues he outlined and promised he would continue to advocate for those issues.
Crowl, who was not a factor in the race, said he thought the effort was “always worth it,” although he admitted being depressed at the low numbers.
“I guess a write-in candidate has a rough row to hoe, but I have no regrets,” he said.