OHIO LEGISLATURE Law upsets Sferra, shatters all-Dem delegation
Incumbent Democrats won other Trumbull and Mahoning county races.
By STEPHEN SIFF
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
After striking out for Warren mayor, state representative and state senator, Republican Randy Law hit a home run.
In an upset victory, the Republican defeated incumbent Rep. Dan Sferra of Warren to represent the 64th house district in the state Legislature. He had run against Sferra two years ago and lost.
"We worked hard to do this," Law said. "It takes a lot to get your name out there."
Although he had never won public office, he was twice elected state Republican committeeman. Law spent very little money on his campaign until last week, when he launched an aggressive ad campaign on both cable and network television.
Law works as a manager at Torque Drives Inc. in Warren, but says he plans on being a full-time legislator.
"It is a good sign for Trumbull County," said Craig Bonar, chairman of the Trumbull County Republican Party. "I think the statewide caucus will take a look at us more."
Sferra could not be reached to comment after final results came in. But other members of Mahoning Valley's legislative delegation rued their colleague's loss.
"I'm very, very sad to see the Mahoning Valley's delegation broke up," said Democrat Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles, D-65th, who easily won re-election against Republican Don Johnson. "It was so important that we had a solid bloc of votes."
"I hope we will all work together, but I will certainly miss Dan," she said.
Law has been active in Republican politics since launching his first campaign for Warren City Council soon after graduating from Warren Western Reserve High School in 1979. His recent campaigns include state representative in 2002, state Senate in 2000 and Warren mayor in 2003. None were considered close races.
"Even a blind squirrel gets a nut sometimes," said state Sen. Marc Dann of Liberty, D-32nd. "I'm saddened by it. Dan was a very good legislator, and it will be a loss to the delegation."
Dann won his race against Republican Gary Pasqualone with an overwhelming 72 percent of the vote in Trumbull County. In Ashtabula, however, Dann's margin of victory was just 11 votes.
"I've worked hard to represent the whole district, and I'll continue to do it," he said.
Incumbents also carried the races for the House districts in Mahoning County, as Reps. Ken Carano, D-59th, of Austintown, Sylvester Patton, Jr., D-60th, of Youngstown, and John Boccieri, D-61st, of New Middletown, were each re-elected. Carano defeated Republican Kathy Miller; Patton defeated Republican Nicholas Keller; and Boccieri defeated Republican Randy Pope.
Boccieri said he's hoping to work with the Republican majority in the House to address the state's budget problems during his next term.
"I've never seen bipartisanship in Columbus in my last two terms. I'm hoping that will change," he said.