Two vacant Ohio congressional seats were filled Thursday after Republican Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist from Columbus, and Democrat Shontel Brown, a Democratic Party leader from Cleveland, were sworn in as members of the House after Tuesday’s special election.
Brown will represent the Cleveland-area seat vacated by former Democratic Rep. Marcia Fudge, who stepped down to join President Joe Biden’s cabinet as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Carey takes over for former Republican Rep. Steve Stivers, who resigned in April to become CEO of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.
“I take this responsibility seriously,” Brown said from the House floor shortly after she and Carey were jointly sworn in. “I ran for Congress because I believe in the resiliency of the community I love and call home.”
Carey paid homage to his roots in small-town Sabina, Ohio, and said he was “humbled to stand here today to serve in the peoples’ House.”
Later, Brown, Carey and their families took turns making small talk while posing for photographs with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi against a backdrop of American flags.
The swearing-in ceremonies leave Democrats with a 221-213 advantage over Republicans in Congress, with Brown and Carey each retaining a seat that was held by their respective parties.
Carey, 50, was backed by former President Donald Trump. He bested two-term Democratic state Rep. Allison Russo, a public health policy consultant, in the 15th Congressional District after the most competitive race there in years.
The 15th district within Fayette County encompasses all of Concord/Green township, Jasper township split two, all of Perry township, Union township South West split two and all of Wayne township. Fayette County registered voters who live in these areas are eligible to vote in this race.
According to unofficial results from the Fayette County Board of Elections, Carey received 910 votes in Fayette County and Russo received 166.
Carey told celebrants at a victory party Tuesday, “We have too many career politicians in Washington. That’s the last thing that I will ever be.”
Brown, 46, coasted to victory in the heavily Democratic 11th District that stretches from Cleveland to Akron, defeating Republican Laverne Gore, a business owner and activist. For Brown, who also chairs the Cuyahoga County Democratic Party, the real contest was the Democratic primary in which she bested Nina Turner, a former Ohio state senator who was a top surrogate for Bernie Sander’s presidential campaign. The race drew an intense media spotlight and millions of dollars in spending.
“I am committed to going to Washington as a unifier, and will work with President Biden and Democratic leaders in Congress to lead a swift health and economic recovery from the pandemic for Ohioans,” Brown said Tuesday.
Both winners will fill the remainder of their predecessors’ terms, which run until January 2023. They must face reelection again next year under a congressional map that’s being redrawn to hold onto the seat.
Lynch thanks WCH voters
Dale Lynch, who earned another four-year term on the Washington Court House City Council at Tuesday’s election along with the other three incumbents, took time to thank city voters.
“I am always very thankful to the citizens for their support of me, and more importantly, for their support of the city. I congratulate the other three who were elected. I believe the next four years will be very important to our community as we hopefully move beyond the pandemic. We need to encourage our citizens to get back to work as we have many job opportunities available now and some exciting prospects on the horizon. I am also looking forward to the completion of our waste water treatment plant renovation. This will solve a problem that has plagued the city for many years. Finally, I look forward to continuing to serve the people of this community who have given so much to me and my family over the years. Please feel free to attend our meetings or contact me or other council members with any concerns or issues. Again, thank you Washington Court House for your support. I will work very hard to not let you down.”
In the city council race, Stephen Shiltz was the leading vote-getter with 887, followed by Lynch with 780, Ted Hawk with 748, and Caleb Johnson with 679, according to unofficial results from the Fayette County Board of Elections.
It was a unique race with seven write-in candidates who also filed. Of the write-ins, Kenny Upthegrove was the leading vote-getter with 435, closely followed by Eric Gerber with 420. John McDonnell tallied 292 votes, Tony Tipton had 288, Benjamin Snodgrass had 116, Sam Gebhardt had 50, and Timothy Leisure had 17.
Voter turnout in Fayette Co.
According to unofficial results from the local board of elections, Fayette County had a 22.98% voter turnout in the November general election. Out of 17,014 registered voters in the county, 3,909 cast ballots — 3,153 on Election Day, 551 absentee in office, and 205 absentee mail.
A special meeting of the Fayette County Board of Elections has been scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 17 at 10 a.m. for the purpose of running the Nov. 2 general official election.
A second special meeting is scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 18 at 3 p.m. for the purpose of certifying the election results.
A special meeting will be held after the regularly-scheduled meeting on Dec. 7 at 10 a.m. The purpose of this meeting is to conduct a post-election audit for the general election.