By a final unofficial vote of 5,220 to 4,974, Walter “Skip” Claypool edged out incumbent Mary Samide to become the Geauga County Republican candidate for county commissioner on the November ballot.
“I’m very pleased. It tells me Geauga County wants a fresh set of eyes and good government,” Claypool said about his victory Tuesday night.
He admitted to being somewhat surprised to have beaten Samide.
“I was prepared, psychologically, in case I lost,” he said, adding he hadn’t prepared a victory speech.
Claypool spoke briefly to a gathering of the GOP at Tanglewood Country Club in Bainbridge before10 p.m. when 90 percent of the votes had been tallied, giving him 51.21 percent of the Republican vote.
He credited his wife, Pam, and their five children with keeping his spirits up, as well as the Ladies for Skip, a group of women who helped him through the campaign.
“Those ladies had more belief in me than, sometimes, I did,” he said.
Claypool said he will take a vacation before hitting the campaign trail for the November elections, but that is as far as his plans go.
“I wasn’t prepared to win. I don’t have a fall campaign,” he said, adding he wasn’t sure who will be running against him on the Democratic ticket.
Ron Weich, Middlefield Village Councilman, was the only candidate on the Democratic ballot.
Both Claypool and Samide have strong roots in the Geauga County GOP and ran on keeping the county rural.
Claypool, who subscribes to the Tea Party philosophy, ran a campaign platform based on his respect for the U.S. and Ohio constitutions, reducing waste and irresponsible use of tax dollars, governing with business-like logic and common sense and improving transparency, among other planks.
Samide said she is passionate about keeping the large-lot zoning and controlling costs so longtime residents can afford to continue to live in the county. She also supports a grass-roots effort to beat back the epidemic of heroin use in the county.
Samide attributed her defeat to a low voter turneout Tuesday and predicted the county government may take on a different tone next year.
“It’s going to be a tough time for Geauga County,” she said Tuesday night, recalling some of the problems the county government had 12 years ago.
“It’s going to be difficult, at best,” she said.
On a personal level, Samide said she has conflicting emotions about losing the race.
“I was doing it to keep things stable in the county,” she said, adding her 10 years as a commissioner yielded a lot of good for Geauga County.
“I’m disappointed,” she said. “I ran a high race against odds I shouldn’t have had to face.”
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