Challenger Bill Hutson pulled what some are calling an upset over incumbent Tim Smith in the Republican primary Tuesday for a seat on the Medina County Board of Commissioners.
Hutson, 54, edged Smith 12,488 votes to 12,354 with 95.73 percent of the vote tabulated, according to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.
The winner will face Democrat Mark E. Kolesar, a Medina councilman, in the Nov. 8 general election.
Hutson and Smith previously have competed for a commissioners’ seat.
Smith has been on the board of commissioners since January 2015 when he was appointed by the county’s Republican Central Committee to replace Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, who was elected to the 69th District seat in Ohio House of Representatives.
Hutson was among the pool of seven candidates vying for Hambley’s seat on the board.
Smith, 65, said being picked by the Republican Party “was an endorsement in itself.”
“I ran for the appointment for commissioner because I felt, as a business owner, former councilman and economic director of the largest city in the county (Brunswick), that I could use my unique set of skills and the experience that I had gained to help promote and move forward the entire county,” he said recently. “I don’t have theories. I have proof that I can do the job.
Hutson graduated from Ferris State University in 1982 and Capital University Law School in 1991. He was admitted to the Ohio state bar in 1991. Hutson worked for Westfield Insurance for more than 30 years and has served as law director for Westfield Center for 19 years. He also served on the Cloverleaf Board of Education for four years and on the Medina County Port Authority for 10 years.
He was on the board of directors for United Way of Medina County and the Medina nonprofit Alternative Paths Inc. for six years each.
Hutson started his own law firm in Medina in 2013.
Smith, 65, said he has been campaigning long and hard to remain on the three-member board.
“I have never enjoyed something as much as doing this job,” he said. “I feel the county needs a leader and a person that can really promote the county. I feel that I am that person.”
Smith previously was an at-large councilman in Brunswick for five years, as well as the economic director in Brunswick for six. He said he helped attract 30 to 40 new businesses a year as economic director and brought in about $250 million in development.
“I love this job,” Smith said. “I’m passionate about the county. I want to see it move forward.”
He said he wants to improve quality of life, economic development and tourism in the county.
“One of the main attributes of economic development is job development,” Smith said. “I want to see economic development, but not at the sacrifice of farmland. I’ve worked on farms. I understand the plight of the farmer.”