Longtime Medina County Commissioner Stephen D. Hambley took the first step Tuesday toward succeeding Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder as the representative of the 69th District.
Batchelder, 71, of Medina, can’t run for re-election because of term limits.
According to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections, Hambley, 59, of Brunswick, handily defeated self-employed contractor Chris Sawicki, 34, of Medina, in Tuesday’s Republican primary, winning more than 61 percent of the vote.
“I’m appreciative to the Republicans for nominating me to represent them in November for the office,” Hambley said.
But Hambley said the party will have to show up better in November.
He said this year’s numbers fell far short of 2012 when more than 24,000 party faithful turned up at the polls. Tuesday’s unofficial tally was 4,091 votes for Hambley and 2,600 for Sawicki.
“I’m just disappointed we didn’t have a better turnout,” he said. “Obviously, the numbers are less because there’s less to vote on this time, but the strength of the Republican Party is getting their voters out, and we really do need to energize for November.”
Hambley has been a county commissioner for the 18 years, serving five years on Brunswick City Council before that.
He said he plans to build on the successes of Batchelder and Gov. John Kasich but focus on making state government work better for local governments.
Sawicki said he wasn’t entirely upset with the outcome.
“Well, for an unknown guy, a carpenter who was never involved in politics before, to come out with 2,600 votes and 39 percent of the vote, I think is pretty amazing,” he said. “I’d be happier if I was the winning party, but it’s not altogether disappointing.”
Sawicki said he is not done challenging the party’s status quo.
“I think just following the party is part of what’s wrong with this country and it’s why I ran for office,” he said. “This is not the last anyone is going to see of me, I plan to do this again in 2016.”
The 69th House District includes the eastern portion of Medina County, including the cities of Medina and Wadsworth and one of the city of Brunswick’s four wards; the villages of Lodi, Chippewa Lake, Gloria Glens Park, Seville and Westfield Center; and Granger, Guilford, Harrisville, Hinckley, Lafayette, Medina, Montville and Sharon townships and portions of Brunswick Hills and York townships. The rest of the county is in House District 70.
Hambley will face Democrat Richard Javorek in November. Javorek ran uncontested in the Democratic primary.