By MIKE SEVER | STAFF WRITER
Portage County voters elected one Democrat while rejecting another in Ohio House races Tuesday.
Kathleen Clyde of Kent won the 68th District seat being vacated by Kathleen Chandler in a four-way race. Clyde got 16,851 votes to defeat Republican W. Roak Zeller who got 15,339 votes. Constitution Party candidate Daniel Cartwright of Hiram tallied 1,880 votes and independent candidate Richard A. Duncan of Aurora got 590 votes, according to complete but unofficial tallies from the Portage County Board of Elections.
It was Zeller’s second run for the Ohio House seat now held by Chandler, who was prevented from running again because of term limits.
The 68th District covers all of Portage except for six townships in the southwest quadrant of the county.
Clyde watched nervously along with about a hundred other Democrats at the Italian American Club in Ravenna as returns trickled in election night.
“It’s a tough year to be a Democrat,” Clyde said as incumbent Dems were defeated around Ohio and across the U.S.
She acknowledged the Portage County TEA Party’s efforts helped to get conservative voters out in the election, and said Democrats “failed to energize voters.”
Clyde said she worked up to the last minute.
“I tried to run a positive campaign, tried to keep it to the issues.” She said she ran a traditional, door-knocking campaign without help from the state Democratic party.
Looking forward to legislative challenges next year, Clyde said she will maintain a focus on constituents,
“I will be a strong advocate for Portage County residents who have concerns with state government,” she said.
In the race for the 43rd District, which covers southwestern Portage and southern Summit County, incumbent Stephen Dyer was rejected for a third term.
Dyer, of Green, lost to Todd M. McKenney of New Franklin by a final, unofficial tally of 24,166 for McKenney to 19,755 for Dyer.
In Portage, McKenney got 7,014 votes to 5,695 for Dyer.