Election 2016: Rezabek defeats Sparks, returns to State House

State Rep. Jeff Rezabek, R-Clayton, bested Democrat David Sparks in their race for the 43rd Ohio House District with a surge of support in Preble County.

Rezabek beat Sparks 60.4 to 39.5 percent with all precincts reporting.

Sparks beat Rezabek in Montgomery County by 994 votes, but it was in Preble County where the incumbent held an overwhelming majority. The Republican earned 12,165 more votes in the rural county.

Rezabek cited his campaign’s groundwork and his legislative work in Columbus as factors behind his success. But he noted, too, his opponent overlooked the importance of Preble County.

“When you don’t go to certain counties and don’t compete, that shows what type of candidate you’re going to be,” Rezabek said.

The Ohio Republican Party spent heavily on Rezabek’s campaign, which turned ugly over the summer with GOP supporters producing ads and a website calling Sparks “Creepy Dave” and saying he made inappropriate comments about girls and drugs in his online videos.

Sparks, in turn, accused Republicans of putting him in personal danger by falsely implying he was a pedophile and said his videos on subjects such as Planned Parenthood, drugs and prostate cancer were supposed to be informational, funny or both.

On Tuesday, Sparks called his defeat a “total win,” noting he spent only $6,000 compared to the “untold money” Republicans spent on attack ads.

“Ultimately, the 43rd District voters are going to get a big money representative of the political establishment,” Sparks said, calling Rezabek “sleaze.”

Rezabek won the seat in 2014 by defeating Democratic incumbent Roland Winburn, 58-42 percent. It was the same year when Kasich cruised to re-election as governor and Republicans dominated statewide offices. Just two years before, Winburn won 54-46 over Republican challenger Joyce Deitering. That election was in 2012 when President Barack Obama won Ohio.

Ohio Senate District 6

Republican State Sen. Peggy Lehner, of Kettering, has defeated Democrat Albert Griggs, Jr., of Huber Heights, 68.1-31.8 percent.

“I’m certainly honored that I continue to have the support of the constituents in the 6th District,” Lehner said, adding she is “anxious to get back to Columbus” and start working.

The 6th District covers all of northern Montgomery County including Huber Heights, Vandalia, Englewood and part of Clayton. The district also includes Kettering, Oakwood, Riverside, Moraine, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Centerville, Germantown and all southern townships in the county. Some of the city of Dayton is also in the district.

Senate District 10

Republican state Sen. Robert Hackett defeated Democratic challenger Matthew Kirk in the race for Ohio’s 10th Senate district, which includes Greene, Clark and Madison counties, 65.2-34.7 percent.

House District 40

State Rep. Mike Henne defeated Democrat David Richards 64.2-35.7 percent. The district covers northern Montgomery County suburbs including Huber Heights, Englewood, Vandalia and part of Clayton.

House District 41

Republican state Rep. Jim Butler defeated Democratic challenger James Calhoun in the race for Ohio’s 41st House district, 63.1-36.8 percent. The district includes Kettering, Oakwood, Riverside and part of Centerville.

House district 42

Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani defeated Democratic challenger West Carrollton City Councilman Pat Merris in the race for Ohio’s 42nd House district, 63.1-36.8 percent. It is a repeat of the race from 2014 in which Antani won, 64.5-35.5 percent.

“I think we’re starting to see some good things happening in Dayton and around Ohio, and I think with a continuing Republican legislature we’ll see more good things in the next two years,” Antani said.

The district includes Washington Twp., Moraine, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Miami Twp., Germantown and German Twp.

District 54

State Rep. Paul Zeltwanger beat Democrat Rick Smith 68.1-31.8 percent in the district covering part of Lebanon, Mason and southwestern Warren County.

District 62

Republican Scott Lipps beat Democrat Samuel Ronan in Ohio House District 62, which covers Springboro, Franklin, Waynesville and Carlisle, as well as Clearcreek, Hamilton and Salem townships. Lipps bested Ronan 78.5-21.4 percent.

District 73

State Rep. Rick Perales, R-Beavercreek, defeated Democratic challenger Yellow Springs Councilman Brian Housh in the race for Ohio’s 73rd House District. The district includes western Greene County, including Beavercreek Bellbrook and Fairborn.

The long-time elected official said “even after 16 years of elected service, it’s still a thrill” to win.

District 74

Republican Bill Dean, a retired plumber who said he said he wasn’t interested in being a politician but felt a responsibility to serve, beat Democrat Barb Niemeyer. Dean was selected to fill the vacancy left when former state Rep. Bob Hackett was appointed to the Ohio Senate.

Dean bested Niemeyer 66.8-33.2 percent.

Niemeyer is a retired teacher and first-time candidate who said she would focus on issues like public school funding and improving workforce development if elected.

The district covers eastern Clark County, central and southern Greene County and all of Madison County.