Updated: Obama wins the nation and Ohio; Candidate, levy results and moreWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Check back throughout the day for more candidate comments and results. Last updated at 4:45 p.m. Nov. 7.
Check out http://www.toledofreepress.com/category/community/election-2012 for our coverage during this election season.
All results below are unofficial and based on the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office and the Lucas County Board of Elections. In Lucas County, 100 percent of precincts were reporting.
President Barack Obama has emerged victorious over Gov. Mitt Romney in an election that saw Ohio and its 18 electoral votes being heavily courted with political ads and candidate visits.
In Lucas County, Obama had 64 percent of the votes to Romney’s 34 percent. Gov. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, earned 1 percent in Lucas County.
In Wood County, Obama received 51 percent of votes and Romney took about 47 percent. Johnson had about 1.5 percent.
Statewide, Obama earned 50 percent of the votes, Romney earned 48 percent and Johnson earned less than 1 percent. Nationally, the president received 303 electoral votes and Romney received 206.
In his victory speech at McCormick Place in Chicago, Obama said, “Tonight in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America, the best is yet to come.”
At a little before 1 a.m. Nov. 7, Romney said at the Boston Convention Center, “I have just called President Obama to congratulate him on his victory.”
In a short concession speech, Romney said he and his family had given their all to the campaign and that he wished he’d been able to “fulfill your hopes.”
“I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation,” he said.
In another race full of ads, Sen. Sherrod Brown triumphed over Treasurer Josh Mandel in the contest for U.S. Senate.
Democrat Brown won his seat again with 50 percent of votes statewide compared to Republican Mandel’s 45 percent. Independent Scott Rupert had about 5 percent of the votes.
Brown made a victory speech in Columbus, but lost his voice midway and had his wife Connie Schultz take over, according to his campaign.
“Today in Ohio, in the middle of America, the middle class won. Again. Only a year ago we gathered to celebrate the defeat of Issue 2, an undisguised assault on the middle class,” said Brown in a statement.
Mandel’s campaign did not return requests for comment.
Rupert, a strong believer in the U.S. constitution, said of his $6,000 campaign, “I would say our campaign got the most bang for the buck … we spent about a nickel a vote. Now people will know who I am so we’ll have more success in the future. What I’m trying to accomplish needs to be done.”
Of Mandel, Brown has said, “If he’d win and get his way, you’d see more tax cuts for the rich and the middle class would shrink even more.”
“Like Romney, he wants to increase defense spending and cut taxes for the rich.”
In the race to represent the radically redistricted District 9, U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur had about 73 percent of votes. Samuel Wurzelbacher aka Joe the Plumber earned about 23 percent. Libertarian Sean Stipe received about 4 percent.
Kaptur has served 30 years in the House and was recently appointed to the House Appropriations Committee.
After winning the primary in March, Kaptur said of her district, which now includes parts of Cleveland and Toledo, “This is a powerhouse of a district — they’ve given us the crown jewels of Ohio.”
Wurzelbacher, who received his famous nickname in the 2008 election, said he decided run because he was “disgusted” with the state of Congress.
He said that poor voter turnout among conservatives may have been why he and Romney lost. In Ohio, officials reported that overall turnout was about 68 percent, compared to 70 percent in 2008.
“It’s gonna be a rough next couple years and the way I see it is we have ourselves to blame because we settled for the status quo,” Wurzelbacher said of the 2012 results. He plans to continue his work with Alaska’s Healing Hearts, which provides outdoor activities to help veterans with social reintegration.
Wurzelbacher also said he will continue to speak out on replacing the country’s tax system and did not totally rule out a future run for office.
“You’re supposed to say never say never. Right now, it’s the furthest thing from mind, but we’ll see what happens in the future,” he said.
In the contest for District 5, U.S. Rep. Bob Latta had about 57 percent of votes while Angela Zimmann had 39 percent. Libertarian Eric Eberly received about 3 percent.
Latta, who is now in his third term, said, “I’m very, very humbled to once again be able to serve the people of the 5th Congressional District. It’s the greatest honor and privilege that I can have.”
When asked about how the campaign went, Latta said, “I just look forward. I never look back, I look forward. We have a lot of work to do in the lame duck session of congress.”
Zimmann, pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Riga, Mich., said, “It was an amazing race and we had fantastic support from so many people.”
“I actually had a lovely conversation with Bob Latta tonight [Nov. 6] and told him I will be wishing him the best.”
Zimmann added that she is looking forward to seeing the results of the provisional ballots in Lucas County where votes were close.
In the race to represent the redistricted 47th District, state Rep. Barbara Sears, currently serving her second term, received 60 percent of the votes over Democrat Jeff Bunck, a retired teacher, with 40 percent.
“I’m thrilled. I’m absolutely ecstatic with the support and feel an overwhelming amount of responsibility to appreciate the support everyone has given me in my race,” Sears said. “Extending into new territory with Fulton County brings with it a lot of responsibility to learn, appreciate and understand a lot of new area.”
State Rep. Matt Szollosi received 65 percent of votes over Republican Dave Kissinger, regional vice president at maxIT Healthcare, who earned 35 percent in the contest for District 46.
“I’m very pleased with the results and very humbled by the strong showing of support from the voters in the 46th district,” Szollosi said. “You can’t take on this kind of effort and campaigning without strong support from family and friends and we had a lot of people out there helping with the campaign. It was a hard-fought election and I’m just very humbled with the result.”
Kissinger said, “We’re obviously saddened by the loss, but we will live to fight again.”
“It was a long campaign. We fought hard and we had a lot of support from great volunteers. We certainly appreciate all their hard work and contributions and assistance in helping us get to this point.”
Commissioner Pete Gerken won 67 percent of the votes versus Republican John Marshall’s 33 percent.
“I’m grateful to the people of Lucas County for giving me the opportunity to serve them for four more years,” Gerken said. “We came out of the worst four years and I think we showed our common sense and resilience. I thank our voters, our employees and our people that we give services to for their trust. It’s been a tough road, but we’re around the corner.”
In the other commissioner’s race, Commissioner Tina Skeldon Wozniak earned 62 percent of votes to Brent McCormack’s 25 percent and Kevin Haddad’s 13 percent.
“It’s just a complete honor to serve the citizens of Lucas County and I can’t wait to continue to work hard with everyone to solve our community’s challenges,” Wozniak said.
McCormack said, “I made it a real focus to be out there and touch base with citizens on a personal level, not just put up a sign every five feet, and I think that really hit it off. I know I have support now and this absolutely will not be the last you see of me. Maybe not for county commissioner, but I plan on running again very soon.”
Councilman Phil Copeland garnered 56 percent of the votes in the race for county recorder over fellow Councilman George Sarantou, who had about 44 percent.
Sarantou has been a financial adviser for New England Financial for 30 years while Copeland has held an office with Laborers Local 500 for about 30 years. The race was one of the more dramatic ones on the local ballot with Sarantou calling Copeland out on his Council attendance record and an anonymous postcard, claiming that Copeland lied about receiving his GED, released in October. Sarantou said at a news conference that he was not involved with the postcards. Copeland said he received his GED in 1976.
“I’m not going to get into an analysis of the race. The voters have spoken and I respect that and we did the best we could,” said Sarantou, who has a year left on Council, but is term-limited after that. He said he has not thought about what his next step is after his term is up.
“I can work with anybody,” Copeland, who is also near the end of his term limit, has said. “If I was lucky enough to win and go into office, I can work with the staff that’s there. I can become a part of the group that’s there. I’m not going down there to tear it apart. I haven’t heard one bad thing about that office.”
This year, seven tax levies were presented to Lucas County voters, who chose not to support three of them.
The Toledo Public Schools’ 4.9-mill levy failed to pass with about 52 percent against it.
“Of course I’m disappointed … on the other side, I saw how close the numbers were. I can see we are making some ground,” said Lisa Sobecki, president of the TPS Board of Education.
In November 2010, voters rejected a 7.8-mill levy for TPS. Operating money has not increased for TPS since 2001.
The superintendent, administration and board will need to figure out what specific changes/cuts need to be made in light of the levy’s failure, Sobecki said.
She also said the district will likely need to pursue another levy in the future and that she would work to “make Columbus aware of our needs” when it comes time for budget plans.
Imagination Station’s 0.17-mill tax levy had 50.28 percent of votes against the levy.
Lori Hauser, Imagination Station’s chief executive officer, said they are still waiting for the provisional ballots to be counted.
“We’re hopeful for a positive response,” she said.
The money from the levy would go toward the 250 permanent exhibitions, as well as the one or two traveling exhibits hosted each year. It would also benefit weekend activities, summer camps and workshops.
The City of Toledo Recreation 1-mill levy also didn’t pass. It had about 54 percent of votes against the levy.
“We respect the will of the voters and we’re going to continue to work to come up with creative funding solutions for parks and recreations,” said Councilwoman Lindsay Webb, who supported the levy.
As of now, Webb does not know what will be cut. She is awaiting the mayor’s budget, which comes out Nov. 15.
“I think that with all the attention that Ohio and Toledo in particular got from the presidential campaign, that it was hard to get our message heard,” Webb said.
The Toledo-Lucas County Public Library 2.9-mill levy passed with about 66 percent of votes in favor of the levy.
“It kind of demonstrates to us and to the community at large that people really see public value to public libraries,” Media Relations Coordinator Rhonda Sewell said.
The money will restore state funding that the system lost in 2009. As a result of losing the funds, the library’s staff, books and hours were cut.
“There will be a restoration of morning, evening and weekend hours,” Sewell said.
The Metroparks’ 0.9-mill levy had 55 percent of votes in favor of the levy.
“We’re obviously thrilled with the outcome,” Director of Public Relations Scott Carpenter said. “It’s exciting and at the same time humbling to win an election.”
The money will be used mainly for major maintenance and capital improvement in the Metroparks system.
The Lucas County Mental Health & Recovery Services 1-mill levy passed narrowly, with 51 percent of votes for the levy.
“First of all, we need to thank the voters for their support,” Executive Director Scott Sylak said. “Our campaign was always about the best interest of our clients.”
The levy funds will go toward restoring access to treatment, medication and housing, he said.
“We’ve made some commitments we intend to keep,” Sylak said.
The Lucas County Children Services’ 1.85-mill levy passed with about 55 percent of the votes in favor of the levy.
“We are very happy that Lucas County voters have once again shown their commitment to our county’s most vulnerable citizens,” Public Information Officer Julie Malkin said.
Malkin said this is not the end of the organization’s struggle.
“By no means are we completely out of a financial tough situation,” Malkin said. “This is the beginning of the process of making difficult decisions.”
The money will help continue the work the group has been doing, make sure there is a sufficient number of case workers and help provide services like counseling and tutoring.
Other candidate races
- State Rep. Randy Gardner earned 59 percent of votes in his bid to return to the Ohio Senate against Democrat Jeff Bretz, who earned 41 percent.
- J. Bernie Quilter, incumbent for the Clerk of the Court of Common Pleas earned 69 percent of the vote over Constantine Stamos with about 31 percent.
- Common Pleas Judge Myron Duhart earned 51 percent of votes in the race to keep his seat versus Kenneth Phillips, who got 49 percent.
- Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz garnered 71 percent of the votes over Norm Witzler, who had 29 percent.
For statewide issues in Ohio, 68 percent voted against Issue 1, meaning they did not want to have a constitutional convention amendment. Sixty-three percent voted against Issue 2, the redistricting proposal.
Reactions to presidential election
In a long and tense presidential race, party lines sometimes split friends and even family.
On Nov. 6, two sisters voting at the American Legion Post in Sylvania disagreed about who should serve as president.
Danyelle Anaya, 23, said she supports Obama because of his stances on women’s issues and taxes. The president has said he wants wealthier Americans to pay more taxes.
Her sister Angelique Anaya, 24, said she supports Romney for many reasons and that she believes the national debt is too big.
Both sisters said they try to avoid talking about politics with each other. Danyelle said she wasn’t even sure who their little brother was voting for.
Angelique interjected, “He’s voting Romney.”
Timothy Price, an electrician who voted at Kent Branch Library, said voting took him less than 20 minutes and went smoothly. He also said he supports the president.
“He’s a people person and I think even though we’re in wars, I think he tries to stay away from wars. I think Mitt Romney’s a warmonger,” he said.
Former congressional candidate Wurzelbacher said in regards to the presidential race,“I’m actually still trying to put my thoughts together.”
He added that although he doesn’t want to take away from the hard work Romney put in his campaign, the former Massachusetts governor may not have been the best representative for conservative ideals.
“A lot of people felt he was forced on us by the media,” said Wurzelbacher, who supported Herman Cain in the primary.
Commissioner Gerken supported Obama in the election. He said, “The fact that Barack Obama will have over 300 electoral votes shows that spending millions on ads can’t win. What wins is people’s trust and people’s confidence about the truth. You can’t lie or spend your way to victory. Romney lied about the Jeep plant taking its jobs to China. I worked there. I’m proud of the American people to be able to see through the onslaught of ads that were released. Eighteen months ago, nobody thought Obama or Sherrod Brown could be re-elected. I think the American people are on the way back. We are coming back and we can’t be fooled.”
Szollosi, also a Democrat, said of the race, “”I think the president’s message resonated with voters, particularly his effort and his message on the strength of the auto industry and particularly when he took the major step [of a bailout] when it wasn’t in his best political interest to do so and in the wake of extreme political opposition. That leadership lent directly to his re-election.”
Sears, a Republican, said of the presidential results,“”It’s a bittersweet thing.”
“In the state of Ohio we were very successful. The House was able to get some excellent opportunities to retain and improve our position at the state level. But obviously it’s very disappointing on the federal level. We’re going to have to really look at what our mandates are going to be and how we’re going to rearrange our priorities with the state.”
Wozniak, a Democrat, said of the race, “I think that the president has served in some of the toughest economic times and, with that, it was an important and competitive race. He recognizes the challenges of helping our communities prosper in the years ahead and will work hard each and every day to make sure that happens.”
–Brigitta Burks, Sarah Ottney and Matt Liasse contributed to this report.