Niehaus wins 14th Senate seat after recount

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 10, 2004

My, what a difference a month - and 84 votes - can make.

State Representative Tom Niehaus appears to have defeated Jean Schmidt for the 14th District Ohio Senate seat after the week-long recount ended Friday. The 14th District includes Clermont, Brown, Adams and Scioto counties and western part of Lawrence County.

Totals from the March 2 election

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had Schmidt winning with 16,911 votes compared to Niehaus with 16,849. Because the margin of victory was less than one half-percent of the vote total, 168 votes in this case, state law required a recount.

Once the recount that included all provisional ballots and overseas military ballots was completed, Niehaus won by 22 votes - 17,098 to 17,076. The Clermont Board of Elections will certify the recount and announce the official results Monday but totals are not expected to change.

"It has been a long (month). I was always optimistic we would prevail. Obviously, I feel great about the outcome," Niehaus said. "I look forward to taking a few days off and then starting to get ready for November."

Niehaus, 53, will face Democratic political newcomer Paul Schwietering in the general election.

In his second term as a state representative, Niehaus is a Clermont native. Though he was disappointed on election night, he knew there were lots of votes to be counted.

"All of the boards of election, the process they went through was very thorough and professional," he said. "I appreciate all the effort to make sure we have an accurate count."

An official canvass recently conducted to answer voter registration questions and included overseas military ballots had Niehaus with 17,092 beating Schmidt's 17,066.

The actual recount began Monday in Clermont County and continued in Lawrence Tuesday, Adams today, Brown on Thursday and finished in Scioto County Friday.

When contacted by phone Friday evening, Schmidt said she did not believe that the results were certified and she will evaluate her options.