WADSWORTH — First-term incumbent John Boccieri lost his 16th Congressional District seat Tuesday to former Wadsworth mayor Jim Renacci in a race that gained national attention throughout midterm elections.
With 86 percent of precincts counted, Renacci led the race with 54 percent of votes at presstime, compared to 40 percent for Boccieri, according to the Associated Press. Libertarian candidate Jeffrey Blevins, also a Wadsworth resident, took about 7 percent of the vote.
The crowd at Renacci’s gathering at The Galaxy cheered when it was projected Republicans would win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“We’ve run a good race, and people are energized and want to make a difference,” Renacci said.
The GOP now holds an 11-7 advantage out of 18 congressional seats in Ohio, the AP reported.
The 16th District includes most of Medina County, including the cities of Medina and Wadsworth, parts of Ashland County and all Stark and Wayne counties.
The district traditionally leans right, as the seat was held by Republican Ralph Regula for 18 terms.
Renacci won approximately 57 percent of the vote in Medina County with 24,357 votes, with Boccieri garnering 36 percent, or 15,132 votes. Blevins won approximately 7 percent of the votes, with 2,898, according to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.
Renacci, 51, is a businessman and former owner of Renacci-Doraty Chevrolet on Akron Road in Wadsworth, which closed in May 2010 after General Motors restructured the ailing company.
Renacci said he will fight to repeal the health care bill Congress passed earlier this year.
“We need health care reform, but we need good health care reform,” he said.
He also described congressional spending as “dangerously out of control.”
Boccieri, 41, is an Air Force Reserves major and veteran of four combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He served eight years in the Ohio General Assembly.
Boccieri conceded the race early this morning.
“I’m respectful of our Democratic process and the people have spoken. I regret I did not win the election tonight, but I’m proud of the accomplishments we won over the last two years in Congress," he said in a statement.
“In the 111th Congress we rescued our country from the brink of economic collapse and charted a new direction for economic prosperity. Although more work needs to be done to get people back to work, we’ve laid the foundation for a much stronger economy – one based not on energy gluts, financial bubbles and consumption, but an economy that is export driven, with green energy jobs and one of the most highly trained, skilled workforce in the world," Boccieri said.
“Tonight I go home to a new baby girl who I believe will grow up in an America that believes our best days are ahead.
“I wish Congressman-elect Renacci well in his first term, and hope we can fill the partisan divide with good ideas and compromise.”
Contact Lisa Hlavinka at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.