NEW PHILADELPHIA — Republican Brett Hillyer beat Democratic candidate Jeremiah Johnson for the chance to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives as the representative of the 98th District in Tuesday's general election.
Hillyer, Uhrichsville's law director, beat Johnson, a former mayor and councilman in Sugarcreek, by more than a 2-to-1 margin.
The position is being vacated by state Rep. Al. Landis, R-Dover, who will leave office at the year’s end because of term limits. Landis was elected a Tuscarawas County commissioner on Tuesday.
Hillyer said he plans to talk with Landis before he takes office in Columbus.
"I've met with the county commissioners of Holmes and Tusc counties, but I'd like to meet with the mayors of Tuscarawas and Holmes counties," Hillyer said. "Basically, I got involved because of municipal government."
He said he wants to find out what needs to be addressed most urgently for local municipalities.
"I just feel that over time they're going to erode if something doesn't change, or if there's not a way to revitalize these communities," Hillyer said.
"I look forward to working for our communities in the Statehouse in January," Hillyer said.
He thanked his supporters.
"I've enjoyed meeting the people of Holmes and Tuscarawas County during this campaign over the last several months," Hillyer said.
He said he was humbled to see yard signs displayed by supporters he had never met, and for people he'd met while campaigning who remembered their interactions.
Unofficial results posted by the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted showed Hillyer received 24,993 votes, 68 percent, and Johnson, 11,763 or 32 percent.
This is Johnson's third defeat in a bid for the Statehouse. He was previously beat twice by Landis.
Johnson said he would take a break from being a candidate himself in favor of helping younger people run for office. He thanked the supporters who helped him knock on thousands of doors throughout the district.
The 98th District includes all of Tuscarawas County and part of Holmes County.