Republicans victorious in three area state senate races

State Rep. Niraj Antani talks with reporters about Ohio Supreme Court Justice William M. O’Neill recusing himself from “future matters” on the court following his announcement that he is running as a Democrat for governor but not stepping down from the court. TY GREENLEES / STAFF
State Rep. Niraj Antani talks with reporters about Ohio Supreme Court Justice William M. O’Neill recusing himself from “future matters” on the court following his announcement that he is running as a Democrat for governor but not stepping down from the court. TY GREENLEES / STAFF

Area Republicans scored victory in three races for the Ohio Senate seats, with two of them being double-digit wins.

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, won the race for the Ohio Senate 6th District seat against Democratic candidate and political newcomer Mark Fogel, the Associated Press reported early Wednesday morning. Antani earned 53.15% of the vote to Fogel’s 46.85%, according to final unofficial results.

He said his priorities upon taking office include helping address the economic and health crises facing the state.

“I believe we can do both at the same time,” Antani said. “We can both get people back to work safely, reopen our economy safely, while also protecting Ohioans' health, specifically the elderly and the vulnerable.”

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Antani said he plans to help restore millions of dollars cut from K-12 education, also plans to “hold the line” against tax increases, boost protection for frontline health care workers and continue to reopen restaurants, storefronts and other private sector components.

“Obviously safely, but we have to trust businesses to do that,” he said. “I think when you look at the caseloads, the governor has said it himself, many of these increased cases are actually coming from family gatherings, not from restaurants, not from bars, not from workplaces.”

Antani said he was grateful for the continued support of the community in which he was born and raised.

“My grandparents lived much of their life under British rule in India, only gaining their freedom seven decades ago," he said. "That it is possible for their grandson to be elected as Ohio’s first Indian American State Senator is a testament to America’s beauty.”

Antani, 29, who is serving his third term as the representative of the 42nd district of the Ohio House of Representatives, won the general election in 2014 at the age of 23. He will replace outgoing state Sen. Peggy Lehner, who is facing term limits.

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Held by Republicans since 1985. The Ohio Senate 6th District seat, covers about two-thirds of Montgomery County.

Fogel, a 40-year-old former Air Force fighter pilot, said in a statement posted to social media that he feels “a great weight of disappointment” that he could not deliver a victory to those who gave “their time, toil, and treasure” to his campaign and to his neighbors "for whom I was doing this for from the beginning, regardless of their politics.”

But alongside that disappointment, was also “genuine pride” in his campaign, he said.

Ohio’s 10th Senate District

In the race for the Ohio Senate District 10 seat, Bob Hackett, R-London, won re-election with 65.3 percent of the vote versus Democratic challenger Charles “Charlie” Ballard, who earned 34.7 percent of the vote.

The district stretches from Beavercreek to West Jefferson and includes the cities of Springfield and Xenia.

“I worked hard to do a good job. I appreciate the voters for putting me back in for this last term,” Hackett told this news outlet late Tuesday night. “I can’t thank the voters enough. They are tremendous.”

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Hackett is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee and leads a subcommittee on Health Finance and Medicaid. He served in the Ohio House from 2009 to 2016 and as a Madison County commissioner from 2001 to 2008.

Ballard owns a small sign company in Greene County. He previously worked as a government contractor at Wright Patterson Air Force Base, and before that served 21 years in the U.S. Air Force.

Hackett congratulated Ballard on running and said he is “a high-quality individual and I appreciated sharing this race with him.”

Ohio’s 12th Senate District

In the race for the Ohio’s 12th Senate District seat, Republican incumbent Matt Huffman won with 79.3% of the vote against political newcomer Democrat Ken Poling, who warned 20.7% of the vote.

Poling, 28, is a carpenter. Huffman, 60, is an attorney who has held public office for a combined nearly 30 years. He’s been a member of city council and the Ohio House and Senate. Both men are Lima residents.

Ohio Senate District 12 includes Champaign, Allen, Mercer and Shelby and parts of Auglaize, Darke and Logan counties.

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Staff Writers Hasan Karim contributed to this report

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