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By Jordyn Grzelewski
The Mahoning Valley’s congressional delegation will head back to Washington, D.C., for another two-year term.
Voters in Ohio’s 13th district – which includes parts of Mahoning, Trumbull, Portage, Stark and Summit counties – re-elected U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan of Howland, a Democrat, to his ninth two-year term in Congress. Voters in Ohio’s 6th congressional district – which includes Columbiana County, among numerous counties in the eastern part of the state – elected Republican Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta to his fifth term in Congress.
Ryan, 45, was challenged by Republican and first-time political office-seeker Chris DePizzo of Cuyahoga Falls; Johnson, 63, faced Democrat Shawna Roberts of Belmont, who also was seeking elected office for the first time.
According to unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State, Ryan won 60.8 percent of the vote with 149,271 votes to DePizzo’s 96,225.
According to unofficial Secretary of State numbers, Johnson won 69.29 percent of the vote, with 169,668 votes to Roberts’ 75,196.
Ryan and other Democrats spent part of election night at Avalon Downtown Pizzeria in downtown Youngstown, where he was greeted with cheers and applause when he arrived shortly after 9 p.m.
Ryan said he was proud of the election results, and characterized his win as voters recognizing his long-term plans and rising seniority in the House of Representatives.
Asked about his future plans and leadership prospects if Democrats take the House, Ryan said he was paying close attention to other House races across the country and is taking part in those conversations with other Democrats.
“Those are the conversations we’re having. I think the industrial Midwest, blue-collar voters need representation in the Democratic Party and in the House leadership,” he said. “If it’s me or or somebody like me, it needs to be a major voice. We’ll find out. My goal is not necessarily what position, but that that voice is heard, our values are heard and the party starts remembering places like Youngstown, Ohio.”
He said DePizzo ran a good race and he “gives him all the credit in the world.” But asked about the tone of political discourse in his race, Ryan said there were instances where he felt that the personal attacks went too far.
“I’m not one of these people who say, ‘They go low and we go lower.’ ... I think the American people want an elevated conversation about the future for our kids, for our country, and at the end of the day, that’s where I’m going to be,” he said. “My opponent spent some time taking personal potshots, and I don’t play that game.”
DePizzo could not be reached for comment late Tuesday.
Johnson was in his hometown of Marietta Tuesday night.
“I’m humbled and honored by the strong support from the people of eastern and southeastern Ohio. For the next two years, I’ll continue to lead the way on issues that matter most to the hardworking people in my communities,” he said. “From lowering the cost of health care, to repealing regulations that kill jobs and hurt working families, to fighting the opioid addiction crisis, to addressing infrastructure needs and expanding broadband internet access across our region, I will speak loudly and clearly for the people who’ve trusted me to be their voice.”
Reached for comment, Roberts said she was satisfied with the race, especially because it was her first time running for office. Roberts thanked her supporters, and said she has promised them she will run for the seat again.
“Most people lose the first time, so I feel pretty good about what we did,” she said. “Next time, I predict another, more interesting outcome.”