Democrats’ big night of victories continue in Portage County polls

DKS Editors

Voter Michelle Cobbin congratulates Dave Doak, the newly elected sheriff for Portage County. Stephanie Dever | Daily Kent Stater

Credit: DKS Editors

The Democratic Party swept all of Portage County’s offices this year, including the highly contested races for county commissioner and sheriff, and the mood at the Portage County Democrats’ celebration was one of excitement and happiness.

At 10:15 last night, the Italian American Society in Ravenna erupted into applause and cheers, while high fives and pats on the back were passed around.

Democrat Dave Doak was announced as the new Portage County sheriff.

“You’re always worried you’re going to lose,” Doak said. “You’d be a fool not to be.”

Linda Doak said she was numb after her husband was announced the winner.

“My husband is a hard worker, and all those campaign goals he said – he’ll try to fulfill with all his heart and soul,” she said. “He ran a clean campaign, and it paid off. Not only did he do this for us, but he did this for the troops back at the station.”

Engineer Mike Marozzi ran uncontested this year, and he said the mood at the party was festive.

“The last several years, the Republicans have won,” he said. “This is a real chance for the Democrats.”

County Commissioner Maureen Frederick ran unopposed, but the race between Chris Smeiles and Larry Solak for the second of three commissioner spots followed an intense path to the polls.

Smeiles, who had been in the news leading up to the election after audits revealed county money was used to pay for his daughter’s college tuition, received the majority of the votes and will start his sixth term as commissioner in January.

“Certainly the issue was politically timed to do the most damage,” he said. “I appreciate voters seeing through it.”

Democrat Kathleen Chandler, who was also in a contested position for State Representative of the 68th District, said she was pleased with her run against W. Roak Zeller.

“I’m so excited,” Chandler said. “This is the kind of change we need. There are so many people here who worked so hard on this campaign. It’s the best-organized campaign I’ve seen.”

Sophomore accounting major Mike Lopman said this year’s party was a lot different from the 2004 election party.

“It’s a lot more lively because we won,” Lopman said. “Everyone was depressed last time. I like being in a room that everyone’s excited about the same things I am.”

Joe Little, who drove voters to the polls, was celebrating last night’s victory with fellow Democrats.

“Everyone’s smiling and feeling excited,” he said. “They feel they did their jobs.”

Contact public affairs reporter Kelly Pickerel at [email protected].

Contact public affairs reporter Kristen Kotz at [email protected].