Republican Rick Carfagna won a decisive victory in the Ohio House of Representatives’ 68th District race during Tuesday’s General Election.
Carfagna ran against Democrat John Russell for the seat being vacated by Margaret Ann Ruhl due to term limits.
With Carfagna’s 17,535 votes to Russell’s 9,010 votes in Knox County after all precincts were counted (65 percent to 35 percent), and eastern Delaware County numbers closing in on 65 to 35 percent, Russell called Carfagna about 10 p.m. and conceded the election. The final Delaware County numbers were 22,458 votes for Carfagna and 10,294 for Russell.
“I’m grateful to voters in Delaware and Knox County for trusting me,” Carfagna said. “I commend my opponent for running an earnest and excellent campaign. He kept us on our toes.
“We started this campaign 15 months ago,” Carfagna continued. “Since then we’ve been to 15,000 doorsteps, I’ve seen some beautiful countryside, and met some wonderful people.”
Carfagna said the State of Ohio and Ohio’s 68th House District both face numerous and significant challenges in the years ahead.
“We have some fantastic public leaders in our communities,” Carfagna added. “I’m going to roll up my sleeves and go to work with them. I ask for the continued support of the residents of Knox and Delaware counties, and I ask for their prayers.”
Carfagna, in his second term as a Genoa Township Trustee, will leave a vacant seat at the end of the year.
With one year remaining on Carfagna’s trustee term, trustees Karl Gebhardt and Frank Dantonio will be tasked with selecting his replacement within 30 days after Carfagna formally leaves office. If Gebhardt and Dantonio fail to fill the vacant seat in 30 days, Common Pleas Court Judge David Hejmanowski would fulfill that task.
One final note: In a statement released on Wednesday, Russell noted that the final 68th House District count was 67 percent for Carfagna to 33 percent for Russell.
“Moving the needle is ultimately up to us, the voters,” Russell said. “If we are unhappy with the status quo, it’s up to us to not only change it, but change it with a focus on addressing problems at their root. I am confident we can do this, and I look forward to continually playing a part. We’re Americans first, we have more in common than we do apart, and everybody counts.”
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.