Unofficial and incomplete election results from the Ohio Secretary of State's website on Tuesday night showed Republican Anthony Gonzalez won more than 56 percent of the vote.
A Republican will continue to represent northwest Stark County in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Unofficial and incomplete election results from the Ohio Secretary of State's website on Tuesday night showed Republican Anthony Gonzalez won more than 56 percent of the vote, beating challenger Susan Moran Palmer, a Democrat.
Neither candidate has held elected office previously.
Gonzalez will take Ohio's 16th Congressional District seat, which has been occupied by Republican Jim Renacci since 2011. Renacci gave up the job to run an unsuccessful campaign for Senate. Ohio's 16th District includes parts of northwest and central Stark County, along with all of Wayne County and portions of Cuyahoga, Medina, Portage and Summit counties.
"It is with deep humility and gratitude that I accept the awesome responsibility of representing the 16th district in the 116th Congress," Gonzalez said in a statement. "In these divided times, my commitment is to be a voice for the enduring values that have inspired every generation of Americans since our founding days. It will be with an unyielding respect for the universal dignity and common humanity of every American that I will walk through any door to work on behalf of Northeast Ohio — our families and our workers."
At St. Stephen Martyr Lutheran Church on Tuesday, Jackson Township resident Robert Scafate, who picked a libertarian candidate for governor, said he voted for Gonzalez.
"I just liked his policies better," he said.
Michael Hughes, also of Jackson Township, agreed Gonzalez was a better candidate, but he voted for the Democrat because he didn't want another Republican in the U.S. House of Representatives. Gonzalez, Hughes said, would fall "right in line" with President Donald Trump and do what he was told.
Gonzalez is a former Indiana Colts wide receiver who earned his MBA from Stanford University and worked as an executive of San Francisco-based Chalk Schools, an education technology firm. He returned to Northeast Ohio and now oversees business development for his family's steel processing company.
The 34-year-old's campaign centered on his desire to see Northeast Ohio thrive. He pushed for creating pro-business, pro-worker policies; a fairer trade policy; expanded opportunities for kids to work in skilled trades or move on to higher education; welfare reform; and the promotion of a legal, merit-based immigration system.
Palmer, 54, has three decades of experience in the health care industry, both as a health care provider and a medical salesperson. She identified health care as the most important issue in this election, saying her background made her the better choice.
In addition to the "broken" health care system, she also stressed the need for Americans to be paid a living wage, for students to no longer be crippled by college debt, and for kids to be protected from gun violence.
"As a resident of this district, I will continue to be motivated by the issues I campaigned on: improving health care access for all Americans; making higher education more affordable for working families; investing in infrastructure improvements; and rebuilding America’s economic ladder that allowed previous generations to work their way up," Palmer said in a statement congratulating her opponent. "I heard these same concerns echoed in every part of the 16th District and I strongly hope that Anthony Gonzalez stands up for the needs of his constituents.”
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