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Andy Thompson wins re-election

November 7, 2012
By Evan Bevins - The Marietta Times ( , The Marietta Times

Republicans running for state legislative office got a majority of votes in Washington County, but only one of them - Marietta resident Andy Thompson - won a seat.

Thompson was elected to the 95th House District seat, while state Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Albany, won a third term. State Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, apparently fended off a challenge by St. Clairsville Republican Shane Thompson in the 30th Senate District.

Andy Thompson, co-publisher and director of sales of the family-owned Bird Watcher's Digest and a former Marietta City Councilman, defeated St. Clairsville Democrat Charlie Daniels, a former corrections officer, to win a second term in the Ohio House of Representatives. With most precincts reporting, the Ohio Secretary of State's office showed Thompson winning nearly 53 percent of the vote.

"I'm elated to win," he said.

Thompson is completing his first term representing the 93rd District, but after the redrawing of legislative districts following the 2010 Census, he'll be in the 95th. That includes all of Noble County and a portion of Washington County, but the city council ward in which Thompson lives is the only part of Marietta in the new district. Meanwhile, Guernsey, Monroe and part of Muskingum County have been replaced with Carroll, Harrison and a portion of Belmont County, making the 95th physically larger than the 93rd.

"My new district is a real challenge. It's stretched me two hours to the north," Thompson said.

Fact Box

At a glance

General Assembly vote totals for Washington County

Ohio House, 94th District

- Debbie Phillips, Democrat - 6,564.

- Charles Richter, Republican - 6,779.

Ohio House, 95th District

- Andy Thompson, Republican - 8,283.

- Charlie Daniels, Democrat - 5,843.

Ohio Senate, 30th District

- Lou Gentile, Democrat - 10,719.

- Shane Thompson, Republican - 16,566.

Source: Washington County Board of Elections.

To win the support of voters in those new areas, Thompson said he relied on strategies from his previous campaigns for city council and the House.

"I had to knock on a lot of doors," he said. "We got out and met people and did candidate forums."

Thompson said he feels the counties in the new district have a lot in common - they're rural communities that rely a great deal on agriculture, coal, oil and natural gas. He tried to emphasize his support of using those natural resources to meet energy and economic needs during the campaign.

The remainder of Marietta is in the new 94th District, which Phillips, will represent for the next two years.

She defeated Little Hocking resident Charles Richter, who actually received more votes than her in his home county of Washington. The secretary of state's office showed her capturing more than 62 percent of the vote with most precincts reporting.

"I just really appreciate the faith people have shown in me," Phillips said.

Phillips won by the greatest margin in her home county of Athens. A former Athens City Councilwoman, she is in her second term in the Ohio House's 92nd District. The redrawing of lines puts her in the 94th, which trades Morgan County and Athens County's Trimble Township for part of Vinton County and a larger portion of Washington.

"I definitely spent more time campaigning in the areas that were new, just to introduce myself to people," Phillips said.

Early Wednesday, Gentile was leading Shane Thompson 52 percent to 48 percent, according to the secretary of state's website, but Gentile said there were still votes to be tallied in his home county of Jefferson.

If the results held, Gentile said he would be "really looking forward to representing the entire district and Washington County and all the 30th District."

Although he will once again be in the minority party, Gentile said he's accomplished things in his short time in the state Senate.

"I also think in the areas of energy in particular, I will be able to work across the aisle," he said.

Gentile was appointed to the 30th District Senate seat in December and has represented it in its current form, which consists of Belmont, Harrison, Jefferson, Columbiana and Tuscarawas counties. He's also been campaigning in the redrawn 30th, which subtracted Columbiana and Tuscarawas and added Washington, Monroe, Noble, Athens, Carroll, Meigs and part of Vinton County.

Prior to his appointment, Gentile served a year in the Ohio House of Representatives and worked as the assistant director for the Governor's Office of Appalachia.



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