GOP sweeps Butler County’s statehouse races

Paul Zeltwanger will take over the 54th Ohio House District seat once held by embattled State Rep. Pete Beck, R-Mason, who is facing securities fraud and theft charges in federal court. Zeltwanger, 48, of Mason, defeated Democrat Rick Smith, of Lebanon, by collecting 72 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results from the boards of elections in Butler and Warren counties.

“I’m excited to get to work,” said Zeltwanger, who will bring decades of real estate and finance experience to Columbus. “I’m sort of a get-it-done, get-to-work kind of guy.”

And that work includes economic development, implementing more efficiency in government and saving tax dollars, he said.

“They’ve been doing a lot of those things, but it’s continuing to look at the low-hanging fruit and making the government work,” Zeltwanger said.

Rep. Tim Derickson, R-Hanover Twp.,won his fourth and final term representing Ohio’s 53rd House District by defeating Democrat Suzi Rubin 69 percent to 31 percent, according to unofficial results from the Butler County Board of Elections. The race was a rematch from two years, and Rubin’s third unsuccessful attempt at winning a seat in the General Assembly. The Monroe city councilwoman also lost in 2010 to now-Sen. Bill Coley when he represented the then-55th Ohio House District.

“I’m going to continue to serve the people of the 53rd House District,” said Derickson, who spent election night picking up campaign signs.

Derickson said he was “humbled” by an overwhelming victory and that he will continue to listen to the needs of his constituents and “take those needs back to Columbus and fight on their behalf.”

Workforce development and education issues have been a primary focus for Derickson, especially in the current General Assembly, and will continue to be a focus in the next.

“I think that’s as important as any other issue we deal with, and that’s educating our workers in order to get jobs,” Derickson said.

State Rep. Margy Conditt, R-Liberty Twp., won re-election with 76 percent of the vote over her opponent Liberty Twp. Democrat Cathina Hourani, who garnered 24 percent of the vote, according to unofficial Butler County results. Conditt was first appointed to the 52nd Ohio House District — which includes Liberty, West Chester and Fairfield townships and the Butler County portion of Sharonville — in 2011 and first elected in 2012.

While Conditt said there are a number of things to be done with regards to the economy, she said a big focus will be with education, specifically with the Ohio Teacher Evaluation Services.

“The Ohio teachers evaluation needs to be look at, there needs to be some corrections to that,” said Conditt.

In regards to the economy, she said lower taxes on small businesses needs to be a trend that continues, along with a decrease to the state’s income tax.

“But in order to do that, you have to attract businesses so the economy can generate more revenue,” she said.

State Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, won a second term over Democrat Lucinda Greene, of Hamilton. He won with 70 percent of the vote to Greene’s 30 percent, according to unofficial Butler County election results. Retherford represents those in 51st Ohio House District, which includes Hamilton, Fairfield, Ross Twp., and portions of Fairfield, Hanover and St. Clair townships.

Retherford said in his sophomore term he’ll work to have Rep. Jim Butler, R-Oakwood, to be the next Ohio Speaker of the House.

“Jim has a strategic plan; he has a vision. He wants to operate things as if it was a business,” said Retherford, adding his goal is to get the best people in leadership positions no matter the experience. “Overall that vision is what Ohio needs going forward over the next few years.”

He will also work to push House Bill 49, an elder justice bill, and House Bill 227, which allows Ohio to enter a health care compact. But if that doesn’t make it out of the General Assembly, “they’ll get re-introduced almost immediately next year,” Retherford said.