By LOU WILIN
State Sen. Cliff Hite coasted to the Republican nomination Tuesday to remain state senator for Ohio’s 1st District.
Hite had won 60 percent of the vote late Tuesday with 99 percent of precincts reporting. He had received 17,739 votes to 6,332 votes for Corey Shankleton, of Kunkle, and 5,196 votes for Milo Schaffner of Van Wert.
Hite, of Findlay, won in 10 of the 11 counties in the district, which contains Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, Van Wert, Defiance and Williams counties, and part of Auglaize, Fulton and Logan counties. Van Wert County favored Schaffner.
The results are an endorsement of the Legislature’s income tax cuts and Gov. John Kasich’s job-creation efforts, Hite said.
“People were saying job creation and the job climate … are going in the right direction,” he said.
The unemployment rate in the 1st Senate District has dropped from 14 percent in 2009 to 5.7 percent this spring, Hite said.
With no opposition on the November ballot, Hite is virtually assured of election.
His two opponents in Tuesday’s primary criticized him as soft on abortion and homosexuality.
Shankleton portrayed Hite as indifferent toward the stalled “heartbeat” bill, which would ban abortions in Ohio once a fetal heartbeat is detected.
Hite also was criticized for a 2009 vote favoring a bill to prevent job and housing discrimination based on sexual orientation.
“When you have been in the General Assembly for seven years, you’re going to develop a record and people have to judge you on that record,” Hite said.
Unofficial election results from the each of the counties in the district were:
- Auglaize County — Hite, 1,119 votes, or 61 percent; Schaffner, 399 votes; Shankleton, 311.
- Defiance — Hite, 2,105, or 62 percent; Schaffner, 709; Shankleton, 606.
- Fulton — Hite, 634, or 60 percent; Schaffner, 250; Shankleton, 178.
- Hancock — Hite, 4,963, or 64 percent; Shankleton, 2,097; Schaffner, 667.
- Hardin (all but one precinct) — Hite, 1,828, or 74 percent; Shankleton, 339; Schaffner, 288.
- Henry — Hite, 2,095, or 75 percent; Shankleton, 360; Schaffner, 355.
- Logan — Hite, 318, or 49 percent; Schaffner, 213; Shankleton, 118.
- Paulding — Hite, 857, or 56 percent; Schaffner, 360; Shankleton, 323.
- Putnam — Hite, 1,326, or 51 percent; Shankleton, 840; Schaffner, 423.
- Van Wert — Schaffner, 1,141, or 50 percent; Hite, 901; Shankleton, 248.
- Williams — Hite, 1,593, or 55 percent; Shankleton, 912; Schaffner, 391.
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