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Primary produced no surprises

With so few candidates on Tuesday’s second primary ballot, there was little suspense.

Vincent Peterson II of Howland was the clear favorite to win the Democratic primary for the 64th House District, and he received 68.8 percent of the vote. State Rep. Mike Loychik was expected to have a significant advantage over Randy Law, his challenger in the Republican primary for the 65th House District. The incumbent captured 70.7 percent of the vote.

And Youngstown Councilwoman Lauren McNally was expected to have little trouble beating three other candidates in the Democratic primary for the 59th Ohio House District nomination, and she received 55.5 percent of the vote.

The Republican 32nd District committeeman race featured four candidates, including Law, who won with 36.8 percent of the vote.

Law of Warren Township received 29.3 percent of the vote on the same ballot for state representative as Loychik.

The 63rd House District makes up one-third of the 32nd District. The 32nd takes in all of Trumbull and Ashtabula counties and a portion of Geauga, though there are more voters in Trumbull than the rest of the district combined.

Law finished third in Ashtabula and Geauga, but won Trumbull with 49.2 percent of the vote.

Stephanie Penrose, director of the Trumbull County Board of Elections, has a theory on why Law won the state central committeeman’s race while losing the state House seat. The state central race appeared first on ballots under a mandate from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, she said.

“People might have said, ‘I voted for that guy already so I better not vote for him again,’ and they voted for Loychik,” Penrose said. “I’m not saying he would have won, but there was confusion.”

It was a near certainty that Loychik of Bazetta was going to win the state House race. Campaign finance reports for Jan. 1 to July 13 showed he spent $89,501 between Jan. 1 and July 13 while Law paid $6,011 out of his pocket in in-kind contributions for signs, banners, printing and space at the Trumbull County Fair.

If Jennifer Donnelly of Cortland, who filed as an independent, is certified to the ballot, she will face Loychik in the general election. The district favors Republicans by 23 percentage points, based on partisan statewide voting trends over the past decade, so she faces a huge challenge.

Peterson moves on to the general election with an overwhelming win in the Democratic primary to face Republican Nick Santucci of Howland. The district favors Democrats by 10 percent based on past voting trends. Santucci has raised significantly more money than Peterson.

In Mahoning County, McNally captured a majority of the vote in a four-person race though truthfully Wayne Penny Jr. of Youngstown was on the ballot in name only, and it showed. He received 5.6 percent of the vote.

Two independents — Poland Township Trustee Eric Ungaro and Greg Beight of New Springfield — filed to challenge McNally in the Nov. 8 general election. The two await certification from the Mahoning County Board of Elections.

McNally goes into the general election with the advantage, but Ungaro lost by only 375 votes when he ran as the Democratic nominee in 2018 for a state House seat that includes a number of the rural and suburban communities in this district.

Skolnick covers politics for The Vindicator and the Tribune Chronicle.

dskolnick@tribtoday.com

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