The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 3, 2010

State representative race still a toss-up

By CARL E. FEATHER - cfeather@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — The race for the 99th District representative appears to have gone to Republican Casey Kozlowski, but provisional ballots could change his 51-vote lead over incumbent Democrat, State Rep. Deborah Newcomb.

Newcomb, of Conneaut, won in Ashtabula County with 40.79 percent of the vote compared to 40.36 percent for her Republican challenger. Newcomb received 12,073 votes while Kozlowski had 11,946.

However, in the northern six precincts of Trumbull County, which are part of the 99th District, Kozlowski received 865 votes compared to 687 votes for Newcomb. That gives an unofficial total of 12,811 votes for Kozlowski and 12,760 for Newcomb, a 51-vote spread in Kozlowski’s favor.

However, there are still 593 Ashtabula County provisional ballots, which will have to be counted, and the six Trumbull County precincts also could have provisional ballots that will have to be processed.

Kozlowski, a Pymatuning Local School Board member, chose jobs as the key message of his campaign, which at times was quite blistering of Newcomb’s performance. Kozlowski blamed the incumbent Democrat for local and state job losses, as well as the county’s lodge debt from her days as county commissioner.

Newcomb, a former Ashtabula County commissioner, was appointed by her party to the state-representative seat and won it two years ago. She campaigned on her constituency work, which included fighting the large rate increases FirstEnergy enacted on owners of all-electric homes.

Independent Tammy Roesch of Kingsville Township grabbed 18.85 percent of the Ashtabula County vote and 9.98 percent of Trumbull County’s vote.

Roesch, a newcomer to the political scene, conducted a grass-roots campaign that included both old-fashioned door-to-door campaigning and a Facebook page. A key figure in organizing several TEA Party rallies in early 2009, Roesch distanced herself from the party movement after it was hijacked by the Republican Party and ran on a campaign to vote out both parties and decrease the size of government.