Nino Vitale pulled out ahead of two Republican opponents Tuesday night, winning a primary campaign to represent Ohio’s 85th House District, according to final, unofficial results.
The race became especially important because no Democrat filed to run in the election, meaning the winner of Tuesday’s race will likely take over the Statehouse seat in the fall. The district covers all of Champaign County and parts of Logan and Shelby counties.
All three candidates touted their conservative credentials, but Vitale said ultimately voters believed the most in the values he promoted through the campaign. He said he had campaigned for 14 months and knocked on about 4,000 doors throughout the district.
“I’m kind of humbled that the voters have picked us and our values and what we stand for,” Vitale said.
Throughout the campaign, Vitale said he believes in traditional family values and looking for ways to make Ohio competitive with other states as it tries to attract and retain jobs.
The seat was open because John Adams, a longtime state representative from Shelby County, was not allowed to seek re-election because of terms limits. Adams had endorsed Vitale in the race.
All three of the candidates in Tuesday’s primary had promoted their conservative credentials to appeal to voters in the months leading up to the race. The candidates had each stressed the need to lower taxes to attract and retain businesses in Ohio.
Vitale is a manager at Johnson Welded Products in Urbana. This election was his first seeking public office.
Vitale argued he was the most conservative of the three candidates, while Chamberlain, a former Logan County prosecutor, argued he was best suited for the seat due to his record of public service and experience as a private attorney. Luckey, of Sidney, spent several years as chairman of the Shelby County Young Republican Club and has assisted with local campaigns for state and federal candidates, including Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Along with working as a department manager at a local Walmart, Luckey said he also has experience running a small financial business. Among other proposals, Luckey argued Ohio should become a “right-to-work” state. Right-to-work laws restrict mandatory membership in unions and prohibit unions from requiring non-members to pay dues.
Chamberlain had promoted his past record of public service in Logan County, where he is a lifelong resident. Chamberlain has served as a part-time Logan County prosecutor and was previously elected as a Logan County Family Court judge.