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Published: Friday, 12/7/2012 - Updated: 1 year ago

Final count: Official Ohio results boost Obama’s total; 2 state races still undecided

BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS — For those still sitting on the edge of their seats, it’s official: President Obama won Ohio on Nov. 6.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted on Thursday certified the official election results that showed Mr. Obama captured 2,827,621 votes, or 50 percent of those cast, to Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s 2,661,407, or 47 percent.

That’s a relatively scant victory of 166,214 votes, but it’s a wider margin than the unofficial 107,241 seen on election night as Mr. Obama picked up more of the provisional and late absentee ballots that had been waiting to be counted.

The remaining 3 percent of the vote was scattered among third party and independent candidates.

Ohio’s 18 members of the Electoral College will meet Dec. 17 in the state Senate chambers to formally hand Ohio to Mr. Obama.

Like the top of the Democratic ticket, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown padded his margin of victory in the official count over Republican Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel from 278,052 votes to 326,978.

In the end, Mr. Brown garnered 2,762,690 votes, or nearly 51 percent, to Mr. Mandel’s 2,435,712, or 45 percent, and independent Scott Rupert’s 250,616, or 4 percent.

“We administered the election according to the law and according to the guidance that we received from the federal courts, and all of that was executed to the letter,” Mr. Husted said. “The process was proved to be sound and proved that our office and our 88 boards of elections ran a good race and good elections process.”

Democrats fought aggressively with mixed success against various moves by legislative Republicans and Mr. Husted affecting the counting of provisional ballots, the ballots of last resort when there’s some question about the voters’ eligibility.

They’ve argued that history has shown that provisional ballots are more likely to be cast by minorities, college students, and others who have traditionally been more likely to vote Democratic.

That fight continues over two seats in the Ohio House of Representatives where the count was so close that they automatically went into recounts.

In the latest count, Rep. Al Landis (R., Dover) leads Democratic challenger Joshua O. Farrell by a scant 15 votes in the 98th District straddling east-central Ohio’s Tuscarawas and Holmes counties.

In suburban Cuyahoga County’s 7th District, Rep. Mike Dovilla (R., Berea) holds a narrow lead of 119 votes over Democratic challenger Matt Patten.

For Republicans, it’s the difference between maintaining their already strong majority and creating a super, two-thirds majority large enough to overturn potential vetoes by fellow GOP Gov. John Kasich and directly propose constitutional amendments to voters.

For Democrats, it’s a fight against falling further into irrelevancy in a chamber they controlled just two years ago. The party had considered just maintaining the status quo of 59-40 a victory given that the newly instituted district maps controlling this election were drawn by Republicans.

Democrats contend boards of elections, under Mr. Husted’s directive, have improperly disqualified some provisional ballots that could change the outcome of those two House races, particularly the 15-vote margin in the 98th.

“Voters’ ballots have been thrown out in Tuscarawas County because poll workers made mistakes in which envelope to use, on paperwork they were required to complete, and in failing to have voters complete required fields,” Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent) said earlier this week.

“Secretary Husted should immediately issue a directive requiring counties to comply with federal law,” she said.

It remains to be seen with either race, particularly the 98th, could end up in the courts.

“I think it’s very irresponsible for them to continue to try to throw things at the wall, make absurd accusations hoping that something sticks,” Mr. Husted said. “The bottom line is we followed the law, the election was run like it’s supposed to be run, and people can feel confident that the people with the most votes were the ones who were elected and will represent them.”

The official results for northwest Ohio’s three congressional races were:

● 9th District: U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (Democrat), 217,771; Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (Republican), 68,668; Sean P. Stipe (Libertarian), 11,725.

● 5th District: U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R), 201,514; Angela Zimmann (D), 137,806; Eric Eberly (L), 12,558.

● 4th District: U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan (R), 182,643; Jim Slone (D), 114,214; Chris Kalla (L), 16,141.

Contact Jim Provance at: jprovance@theblade.com or 614-221-0496.



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