Around 11 p.m., supporters began to file out of the Italian American Club, wishing Kathleen Clyde congratulations as they passed.
But Clyde was cautious. She didn’t want to admit victory before all votes were tallied.
Clyde is expected to succeed Kathleen Chandler as Ohio’s 68th House Representative, which represents Portage County’s interests in Columbus. Chandler is not eligible to run again due to term limits.
Clyde leads W. Roak Zeller 4.5 percentage points with 95 percent of polls reporting. About 70 people gathered in the Italian American Club to support Clyde Tuesday night as results came in. About 20 people joined Zeller at Belleria in Kent.
People at Zeller’s event dined on pizza and baked ziti, occasionally glancing up at Fox News’ election show while Clyde’s supporters sipped beer and Coca Cola and munched on pizza, wings and cookies.
Before results began rolling in, Clyde admitted she was nervous.
“I feel like I’ve done everything I can do. I’ve knocked on over 10,000 doors, held events all over the county and worked my heart out. I ran a clean campaign and I hope that I can come out on top and do a lot of hard work on behalf of this county,” she said.
Zeller left his event before election results were in to work an overnight shift at the Rubbermaid plant in Mogadore.
Clyde said she intends to make higher education one of her top priorities.
“Higher education is one of the issues I have run on, and I think it’s one of the most important issues facing our state,” she said.
“With the economy struggling like it is now, I think it’s very important we keep college affordable and we keep it accessible to as many young people who want to attend college in Ohio as possible. And also work to create good, high-paying jobs when they graduate.”
Zeller said he supports Colorado’s plan for higher education.
“I like the Colorado plan, because the money follows the student. Here the state sets the budget for each university and sure they take into account attendance, but in Colorado the money actually follows the students,” he said.
Both candidates campaigned right up until the last minute.
“I visited over 7,000 doors. Five thousand on my own and the other 2,000 with the help of volunteers,” Zeller said. “Win or lose, I can honestly say I did everything I possibly could. I campaigned all the year and put it all out there.”