Republican Kyle Koehler won an open seat in the Ohio House of Representatives during the general election Tuesday, defeating Democrat Darrell Jackson with about 61 percent of the vote, according to final, unofficial election results.
Koehler, 53, of Springfield, will replace incumbent state Rep. Ross McGregor in the 79th Ohio House District. McGregor, also a Springfield Republican, has served the maximum four terms in office.
The margin of victory was shocking, said Koehler, the vice president of his family-owned Springfield business K.K. Tool.
“We felt like we worked hard, but we didn’t know it was going to be that good,” Koehler said. “We’re very pleased that the voters of the 79th district decided to put their trust in me. I’m going to do my best to work hard so I can earn that trust.”
Jackson, 53, congratulated Koehler on a hard-fought campaign in a statement on Tuesday evening.
“I also want to take this opportunity to thank my wife, Gina, and my family,” Jackson said. “I want to thank all of the volunteers and workers who have spent countless hours spreading our message of supporting strong schools, strong communities and a strong middle class. I am proud to have stood for those values, and look forward to making sure every vote is counted.”
The district consists of Springfield and the southwestern portion of Clark County. Koehler will begin his term in January and will serve year through 2017, making an annual salary of about $60,500.
Koehler was narrowly defeated by incumbent Clark County Commissioner David Hartley for a seat on that board in 2012. This year, he stepped back into the political arena, beating both Argeri Lagos and Rick Chimento in a heated primary earlier this year to win the Republican nomination for the Statehouse seat.
Then on Tuesday he beat Jackson, a retired Clark County Sheriff’s deputy with more than 26 years of service in law enforcement.
The support Koehler received from the community during the nearly year-long campaign was a big factor in the victory, he said. After the results were announced, he thanked the volunteers who made it possible.
“I can only thank the folks that walked door-to-door for me, made phone calls for me, contributed to my campaign,” Koehler said. “I’m overwhelmed by their support. This is their victory.”