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Reactions from Lorain County voters were mixed on the Nov. 6, 2018, midterm general election in the governor’s and U.S. Senate races and on Issue 1, which was a constitutional amendment that would have made drug possessions and use as misdemeanors.

Governor’s race

Republican gubernatorial candidate Mike DeWine won the election by garnering 2,187,619 (50.7 percent) votes statewide as opposed to his Democratic challenger Richard Cordray who received 2, 005,627 (46.4 percent) votes, according to unofficial results However, Cordray outdid DeWine 57039 (51 percent) to 51037 (46 percent) votes in Lorain County, according to unofficial results.
        Atti Stafford, LCCC student from Vermilion, said she was disappointed but not surprised that her candidate, Cordray, did not win.  “Ohio’s been a big red state for a while.  It would take a lot for it to turn blue.”

“I voted for the Libertarian (Travis Irvine),” said Ethlyn Kennedy of North Ridgeville. “I didn’t expect him to win but was not pleased with any of the candidates on the ballot.” Irvine received 77,184 (1.7 percent) votes, according to unofficial results.

Dave Zupan, Avon Lake precinct committeeman, said he was not surprised that Cordray and Betty Sutton, lieutenant governor candidate, lost. He said that Cordray has statewide name recognition but it is quite negative. This happened “(when Cordray) worked under Strickland (former Ohio governor) who spent the date into debt.”

 Michael Ragnoni, a Vermilion resident, was not elated with DeWine’s victory. “DeWine’s win will have a terrible effect on the elderly. We need faces that stand up for union jobs and the working class of America,” said Ragnoni who voted for Cordray. 

  But, Noel Reyes of Lorain, who supported DeWine is pleased with the election outcome. “He is going to do a good job and that is why I chose him,” Reyes said.

Meagan Helmick of Oberlin has a different view. Helmick was upset that DeWine won. “I think it’s stupid, Trump is already making things go downhill,” Helmick said.

U.S. Senate race 

Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown handily defeated his Republican challenger Jim Renacci by 2,286,730 (53 percent) to 2,011, 837 (47 percent) votes statewide. Such lead is reflected in Lorain County’s unofficial results — Brown garnered 65,444 (59 percent) votes as opposed to Renacci’s 45,249 (41 percent) votes.

        “Sherrod Brown has been in office much too long and I don’t know why people still vote for him,” Kennedy said. She related back to 2011 when Brown was speaking out against the coal industry.  

“I’m not surprised that he won,” said Kimberly Gallagher, LCCC student from Vermilion, “though I was surprised how close it was.”

“I’m disappointed [that Brown won] because he is a socialist,” said Zupan.  “It’s really difficult to beat an incumbent in the Senate.  People deserve the government they get because they vote for it.” 

    Ashley Thomas, an Elyria resident, was happy that Brown won the race. Even though this is his third term, Thomas hopes he can finally bring some change to Ohio.

  But, James Stone was upset that Renacci lost the election. “I don’t think or believe Sherrod can actually change things,” Stone said. “He hasn’t done it yet, so why does he deserve another term in office?” 

Grafton resident Danielle Corrin disagreed. “I will say, however, that I am happy Sherrod Brown won the senate.  I voted for Brown because I feel his take on the issues are better suited than his opponents were,” said Corrin. 

Issue 1 fails

Another prominent item on the ballot was Issue 1.

 “I was for it [the amendment],” said Stafford, “I’m really sad.  I wish we could help fix the justice system.  I wish we could tackle the drug problems by de-criminalizing drug possession and help tackle opioids in society.”

About 63 percent (2,716,958) Ohioans opposed Issue 1 as opposed to 37 percent (1,568,347) supporters. Among Lorain County residents, 66 percent (73,142) voted ‘no’ as opposed to 34 percent (37,809) ‘yes’ votes, according to unofficial results.
  LCCC student Atti Stafford was disappointed with the defeat of Issue 1. “We are going to see overpopulation in prisons,” Stafford said.
     Another student Jilyann Atkinson expressed similar views. “The criminal justice system is going to feel the weight of this considering the opioid epidemic,” Atkinson said, noting that the opioid epidemic to be a social and cultural problem in Lorain.

“I voted ‘no’,” said Poplar.  “There were things that couldn’t be overcome like the 20 grams of fentanyl.”  He thought that there was motivation to support the amendment because convicted felons would get out of jail and can’t get a job. They often cycle back to jail after committing more crimes.

Gallagher said she was disheartened by the loss on Issue 1 but not surprised and indicated the margins were large.  Similar views were expressed by Ragnoni. “Individuals convicted for non-violent, drug related crimes should get help and not take up the space needed for violent criminals,” he said.

Milan resident Norma Bias also supported Issue 1. “Our prisons should be filled with real criminals like murders and not people with addictions,” said Bias. “Why wouldn’t we want more space for violent criminals in our prisons.” 

 Corrin agreed. “We’re never going to progress if people keep rejecting new ideas such as issue 1,” Corrin, 25, said.

 “I voted yes (on Issue 1) because I think bringing drug chargers down from a felony to a misdemeanor will limit the amount of people sent to prison for these kinds of things,” Corrin, 25, said.  

But, an Elyria voter who is pretty satisfied with the results of this election is 28-year-old Tim Smith.  “I voted against Issue 1 and for a good reason.  I know too many people who have died before they were 30 because of the heroin epidemic. Drug offenses should be taken as seriously as possible,” Smith said

Olmsted Falls resident Jack Warning said it was difficult to get reliable information on what each candidate really stood for, but he had always voted primarily Democratic. Warning added that he was happy to hear that Issue I went down along with a win for Brown. 

Likewise, Christopher Gross, an Olmsted Township resident, voted Democratic. Gross said he was unhappy with the previous Republican representation because of specific reductions on women’s rights. “I feel it is imperative to vote Democrat to put a check in place for what is happening in our government right now with Republicans in full control of the Senate, the House, and the presidency,” Gross said.