By Erik Martin
DARKE COUNTY — In Tuesday’s May 3 Primary Election, some races were decided quickly after the polls closed, while the results in other, closely contested races ran later into the evening.
In a campaign which Darke County voters watched with great interest, incumbent Sheriff Mark Whittaker held off a challenge by Union City, Ohio, Police Chief Mark Ater, 72 percent to 27 percent. Whittaker as of yet has no declared opponents in the November General Election.
On Wednesday, Whittaker thanked his supporters for his primary victory.
“Thank you to the citizens of Darke County for electing me to be your sheriff. It is an honor and privilege to be selected by my fellow citizens to fulfill this office. To my family, friends and many supporters thank you for your hard work and perseverance through this campaign. I want to say thank you to all of the men and women of the Darke County Sheriff’s Office who serve Darke County every day.”
Darke County Board of Elections Director Paul Schlecty said the Darke County voter turnout was significantly higher in this midterm primary election as has been experienced in other years.
“This year’s turnout was 31.8 percent of registered voters. That is high,” said Schlecty. “For a midterm here, it’s usually about 20-to-25 percent, so we had a good six points higher.”
“I would attribute that to the sheriff’s race,” he added.
Despite pressure from other Republican candidates seeking to unseat him, incumbent Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted garnered 48 percent of GOP votes, enough to send DeWine to November to face Democratic nominee Nan Whaley.
Author J.D. Vance pulled away from a crowded field of Republicans seeking to run for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by the retiring Sen. Rob Portman. Vance received 32 percent of GOP votes across the state, followed by Josh Mandel (23 percent), Matt Dolan (23 percent), and Mike Gibbons (11 percent). In Ohio primaries, the winning candidate only needs the most votes, not a majority of votes.
Vance’s notoriety as an author and public speaker, and an endorsement from former Pres. Donald Trump, helped him distance himself from the pack in the few weeks prior to Tuesday. He will compete against Democratic candidate Tim Ryan, who won his primary with 69 percent of the Democrat vote.
In Darke County, 31 percent of Republican voters threw their support behind Mandel, while Vance received 28 percent of Darke County votes.
Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Paduchik released a statement congratulating Vance.
“Congratulations to J.D. Vance on winning a hard-fought primary,” he said. “Ohio Republicans can be confident that they have chosen a battle-tested conservative fighter who will stop Joe Biden’s failed policies that are hurting Ohio’s workers and families. Ohio Republicans are ready to hit the ground running to ensure J.D. defeats Tim Ryan in November.”
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson (R-8th District) easily defeated primary challenger Phil Heimlich with 71 percent of the Republican vote. Davidson will face Democrat nominee Vanessa Enoch for a third time in November.
In a county-wide vote, a 10-year, 2-mill property tax renewal for Darke County Board of Developmental Disabilities passed with the support of 66 percent of voters.
Among other issues on the ballot:
-An additional 2-mill property tax for Ansonia Local School District passed with 65 percent of the vote.
-An additional 2-mill property tax for Mississinawa Valley Local Schools narrowly passed with 50.66 percent of voters.
-A replacement property tax, increase of .6 mill, final rate of 2 mills for the Village of Versailles passed with 79 percent of the vote.
-A replacement property tax, increase of .5 mill, final rate of 2 mills for Wayne Township passed with 81 percent.
The Darke County Board of Elections will meet May 24 for an official canvass to finalize the vote.
Contact Daily Advocate Editor Erik Martin by email at [email protected]