Wilson was sworn in Wednesday after his appointment by the Senate Republican Caucus.
He was picked over former State Rep. Ron Maag, R-Salem Twp.; Steve Muterspaw, a trustee in Clearcreek Twp. who ran against Maag's successor; and Zac Haines, a Hamilton County man who reportedly raised $100,000 and listed endorsements from well-known area Republicans in pursuit of the appointment.
Michelle Schneider, a former state lawmaker from Hamilton County, dropped out of the running. The district encompasses all of Warren and parts of Hamilton and Butler counties.
Wilson was appointed after recommendation from a screening committee.
“Steve has both the leadership and work ethic to make him an outstanding representative for the people of the 7th District,” Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said in a press release. “He is active in the community, and he understands the issues important to his constituents.”
On Thursday at his home, Wilson was unable to explain his victory except to note that, despite having limited experience in elected office, “I bring a lot of experience.”
The former chief executive and current chairman of LCNB Corp and LCNB National Bank, Wilson offers more than 40 years of experience in public and private sectors.
He currently serves on the board of trustees at Miami University and as vice chair of the Warren County Port Authority, and he backed projects for the Ohio Historical Society, Little Miami Bike Trail and Child Advocacy Center of Warren County.
Past chair of the American and Ohio bankers associations, Wilson also previously served on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce and Lebanon City Schools Board of Education.
“We’re looking forward to seeing the senator represent us well as somebody whose been around the county a long time,” said Jeff Monroe, chairman of the Warren County Republican Party.
Monroe said he and Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County GOP, agreed “the two parties were going to allow the senate to make the appointment without interference.”
The appointment disproves claims that Maag would be picked after yielding to Jones, rather than also running for the open seat on the county commission.
Wilson will finish the term, ending in 2018, and plans to run for the office.
“I’m grateful for the trust and opportunity given to me by my new colleagues,” said Wilson. “I will do everything I can to return power and influence to the people of Warren and Hamilton counties and to fight for a job-creating environment for all Ohioans.”
Wilson pledged to focus on job creation and support the conservative values of the voters of Ohio’s 7th Senate District.
“All social ills of able-bodied people come from the lack of a job,” Wilson said in a quote from former Ohio Gov. James Rhodes. “I look forward to tackling whatever may come along, through the filter of the 7th District.”