In a reversal from the unofficial results, the Democratic incumbent retained his seat in a new Ohio House district after official results pushed him ahead of a Republican challenger.
Rep. Richard Brown, D-Canal Winchester, defeated Republican candidate Ronald Beach IV, of Obetz, to represent District 5 after Beach appeared to have the lead during the end of unofficial results. Tallies on Nov. 8 had Beach ahead by 96 votes, but after absentee and provisional ballots were tallied, Brown was declared winner by 145 votes, according to results released Tuesday by the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Brown is currently representing District 20, which includes western Franklin County, in the Ohio General Assembly, where he was was reelected as assistant minority whip in 2020.
District 5 includes much of former District 20, although it now covers a swath of southern Franklin County, including Galloway, Darbydale, Lockbourne, Obetz, parts of Canal Winchester and Reynoldsburg.
“I will continue to serve my constituents and all Ohioans with the utmost integrity and fairness they deserve,” Brown said. “I look forward to keeping that same commitment to service over the next two years that I have put forth in my district for my constituents over the last five years.”
Beach, 23, said he was proud of the campaign he ran as a political newcomer, noting how close he came to victory.
“Everyone wanted to get excited because I was up (on election night), but at the end of the day you can’t put the cart before the horse,” Beach said. “Being up 96 votes is great, but at the end of the day every vote needs to be counted.”
Ohio election law dictates that state legislative races with one-half of one percent vote difference between candidates are subject to an automatic recount. The Franklin County Board of Elections will conduct an official recount in the race for Ohio House District 5 on Dec. 9.
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: State representative retains seat after final results put him in lead