Sheila McLaughlin reports
Political newcomer T.C. Rogers kept his edge over Courtney Combs as the Republican nominee for Butler County Commissioner Tuesday when absentee and provisional ballots were counted.
But the race is destined for an automatic recount by law because the margin is less than half of 1 percent.
Rogers, a home builder and real estate agent from West Chester Township, came in 13 votes ahead of Combs in Tuesday’s count at the Butler County Board of Elections.
Tuesday’s count gave Rogers 11,571 votes to Combs’ 11,558.
Incumbent Commissioner Chuck Furmon gained 82 votes, but still brought up the rear with 9,392 total votes in the primary race.
“It came down to the last day so I’m the poster boy for every vote counts,” Rogers said. “Elections are not horseshoes.”
The recount is not expected the change things, said Board of Elections Deputy Director Jocelyn Bucaro.
“We’ve never had a recount produce different results,” she said.
If the numbers hold through the recount, Combs is out of a political job after losing his Ohio House seat at the end of the year. He has represented the 54th District since 2004 after serving as a county commissioner.
“Yes, I would have liked to be county commissioner but if it’s not meant to be, it won’t be,” Combs said. “I’m a Realtor by trade so politics is not my whole life. It’s so close and I feel very humbled by the fact that I won, I think, 13 townships and three of the big cities in Butler County. So obviously the support was there.”
Rogers subscribes to the tea party movement and Combs is seen as part of the GOP establishment.
Voters obviously are looking for something new from the county commission, Combs said.
“I wish him the best. It’s a challenge now in Butler County for sure,” he said.
Rogers will face Democratic candidate Jodi Billerman of Liberty Township and Libertarian Daryl Olthaus, a registered nurse from Somerville, in the November election.