Though their races will be recounted, two area Republicans appear to have eked out victories three weeks after the general election and following the counting of provisional and late mail-in ballots in Montgomery County.
By slim margins, Rep. J. Todd Smith will apparently return to the 43rd District Ohio House seat while Mike Foley will become the new Montgomery County clerk of courts.
Reached Tuesday, Smith was in Columbus taking part in new legislators’ orientation — something he never received after being appointed to the seat in July. But something he received then that allowed him on the House floor took on a new meaning Tuesday after the Montgomery County Board of Elections certified results.
“It was a little bit different this morning putting that lapel pin on having won an election, knowing that you were actually voted in,” Smith said. “That was very surreal.”
Smith held a 462-vote margin after counting on Election Day, which narrowed to 137 votes over Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley in the final canvass.
Tuesday was the deadline for Elections boards in Ohio’s 88 to certify the results of the Nov. 6 election with the Ohio Secretary of State.
State law requires a recount if the final margin is equal to or less than a half of a percent of total votes cast. While the provisional ballot count triggered automatic recounts, the recounts rarely move the needle again, election officials said.
Dan Foley, a longtime commissioner who decided to run for the Statehouse instead of seeking re-election to the county board, said he’s not conceding the job in Columbus just yet.
“We’ll await the result of the recount,” he said. “I understand it may be a bit of an uphill climb, but we’ll let the process play itself out.”
The 43rd District includes all or parts of Dayton, Trotwood, Jefferson Twp., Clayton, Brookville, Farmersville, Harrison Twp., Perry Twp. Jackson Twp. and all of Preble County.
A third Montgomery County election will also be recounted.
Riverside voters rejected an additional eight mills road levy by 83 votes out of 8,982 cast, also triggering a recount.
The Montgomery County Board of Elections has scheduled the recounts for the clerk of courts and Riverside Issue 24 for Dec. 4. The 43rd House District recount is tentatively Dec. 5. Because the race also includes Preble County voters, the recount must be approved by the Ohio Secretary of State. The recounts will sample about 5 percent of affected precincts, said Jan Kelly, the county’s elections director.
Russ Joseph, the current Montgomery County Clerk of Courts, said he, too, will wait for the recount to run its course before conceding.
“We want to take part in the recount and we appreciate the Board of Elections for being as thorough as possible to make sure that people’s voices are heard,” Joseph said. “We’ll move on and see what happens next week.”
Mike Foley, the apparent clerk of courts-elect, did not return a call for comment. He is the owner of multiple small businesses, among them four tax and accounting offices including one in Fairborn, and was a Bureau of Motor Vehicles deputy registrar for 12 years.