Bowling Green State U. Area Republicans Celebrate Local Wins, Lament National Losses

This story was written by Tim Sampson, The BG News


Despite major Republican losses in the presidential election and in Senate and House races across the country, incumbent GOP officials in Wood County managed a near sweep in yesterday's election.

Locally, Republicans won races in the U.S. House of Representatives, the State House and Senate, county sheriff and clerk of courts. The only local seat won by a Democrat was one of two county commissioner races where 24-year incumbent Alvin L. Perkins kept his seat.

The sharp contrast between national and local results made for a mixed mood at the Republican watch party held at the Stone Ridge Country Club in Bowling Green last night. Attendees were celebrating the victories of friends and colleagues while commiserating Barack Obama's substantial victory over John McCain.

Although many in attendance knew that McCain's chances were narrow going into yesterday's election, many were choosing to hold out hope until all the votes were tallied.

"I guess I've gone into tonight hoping for the best and expecting the worst," said Jim Witker, who lost in his bid to unseat Perkins as county commissioner.

But hopes for the best quickly diminished as the big screen TV showing Fox News' election coverage reported Obama taking the electoral lead. The calling of Ohio for Obama at around 9:20 p.m. was a major disappointment for members of the University's College Republicans who were in attendance.

Sarah Henderly, secretary of the Bowling Green State University College Republicans, felt the Ohio loss particularly hard after having devoted time toward volunteering for McCain - phone banking, helping with rallies and registering voters since the summer. But she said her support for the Republican nominee was largely based on opposition to Obama's tax policies.

"For me, it's an anti-socialist policies thing," Henderly said.

Other Republicans at last night's party were not as harsh in their characterization of Obama's tax policies, but still voiced concerns over Obama's proposals.

Republican Congressman Bob Latta said Obama's victory, combined with Democratic dominance in both the House and the Senate, would mean higher taxes for the middle class.

"Historically [Democrats] want to raise taxes," Latta said. "And in an economic crisis, that is the last thing you want to do."

But local races proved to be the bright spot for Republicans. After being elected to fill a vacant congressional seat in Ohio's 5th district in a special election last year, Latta easily won re-election by a two-to-one margin this time around. And although Obama was leading McCain by a narrow 479-vote lead in Wood County as of press time, all Republican incumbents retained their seats locally.

County Commissioner Tim Brown, said he attributes the Republican success in the area to a solid team of elected officials who have worked together to keep Wood County's economy stable in the face of a national crisis.

"I think a lot of Republican's knew this was going to bad year," Brown said. "An incumbent party during economic crisis doesn't usually fair well. But thankfully we have a good team in place here and the voters are pretty good at sorting things out."

Brown even offered supportive words for the president-elect.

"There is a real economic crisis and he's going to be the one dealing with it, and we should all be hoping he does a good job," Brown said. "I do."
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