Wednesday, March 3, 2004

62-vote difference means a recount in state Senate



By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COMPLETE COVERAGE
Cincinnati.com Special Election Coverage
In a race that will ultimately be decided by a recount, Jean Schmidt edged Tom Niehaus by just 62 votes for the Republican nomination for the 14th District Ohio Senate seat Tuesday.

"It ain't over 'til it's over," Schmidt said. "This is the way my whole life has been - one tough race after another."

Unofficial final results showed Schmidt with 16,911 votes and Niehaus with 16,849 votes.

Niehaus, state representative for the 88th House District, and Schmidt, state representative for the 66th House District, were competing to replace Sen. Doug White, who is being forced from office by the state term-limits law.

The winner faces Democrat Paul Schwietering in the November general election. Schwietering is a Cherry Grove resident who has never held a public office.

The 14th Senate District includes Clermont, Brown, Adams and Sciota counties and the western part of Lawrence County.

In the primary race for Schmidt's House seat, Joseph Uecker locked up the Republican nomination over four other candidates. In unofficial final results, Uecker had 40 percent; Donovan Donohoo Sr., 22 percent; Carl Dorsch, 20 percent; Mark Daniels, 13 percent; and Jeffrey Hardin, 4 percent.

"I had a real grass-roots campaign," Uecker said. "I have a lot of friends who walked and knocked on doors for me. It was the door-knocking that did it."

Uecker, an administrator for the Clermont County Engineer's Office, has been a Miami Township trustee for 14 years.

Uecker will run unopposed in November.

In the race for Niehaus' House seat, Danny Bubp earned the Republican nomination over two other candidates. Bubp had 44 percent of the votes, while Snyder had 30 percent and Curt Carl Hartman had 26 percent in unofficial final returns.

Bubp, of West Union, is an attorney who also served as judge in Adams County Court and Adams County Common Pleas Court.

Snyder, who lives in Batavia Township, is Highland County's economic development director. Hartman, an attorney, has been a Pierce Township trustee for seven years. Bubp will face Democrat Cyrus B. Richardson Jr. in November.

Some of the areas in Niehaus' and Schmidt's House districts are also in the 14th Senate District.

Schmidt, who lives in Miami Township, had stressed the issues of jobs, education and health care.

Throughout the campaign, Niehaus criticized Schmidt for voting for the penny state sales tax increase and a $3.5 billion increase in the biennial budget.

Niehaus, who lives in New Richmond, voted against the tax increase. He said raising taxes unfairly penalizes taxpayers for the state's overspending. Schmidt said that rejecting the tax increase would have eliminated crucial programs for children, the elderly, the disabled and the poor.

E-mail skemme@enquirer.com




PRIMARY 2004
Cincinnati.com Special Election Section
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