LORAIN — Former legislative aide Dan Ramos defeated former Lorain County Board of Elections Director Jose Candelario and two other contenders in the Democratic primary to replace state Rep. Joe Koziura, D-Lorain, who term limits will force from office at the end of the year.
Ramos, a Lorain native who once worked for Koziura in Columbus, took 3,033 votes, or 34.7 percent of the vote, compared to the 2,812 ballots cast for Candelario, or 32.2 percent of the vote, according to unofficial election results from the elections board.
Maria Zampieri Vitale, a former child support investigator and union leader, finished third in the four-way race with 1,951 votes, or 22.3 percent of the vote.
Former New Russia Township Trustee Dick Williams took 10.8 percent of the vote, with 942 ballots cast for him.
“I’m very happy,” Ramos, 28, said. “We worked very hard and knocked on over 10,000 doors.”
Ramos will face Republican Henry Lewandowski Jr., who was unopposed in his party’s primary, in the November election.
“The plan’s basically the same,” Ramos said. “I’m going to keep talking to people.”
In addition to working for Koziura — who won the Democratic primary in the county commissioner race Tuesday — Ramos also served as a senior aide to Ohio House Speaker Armond Budish before leaving the job in December to run for office.
Candelario, 30, said he was disappointed by the results of the election, but he would support Ramos.
“Dan’s going to do a great job representing the district,” he said. “We’re going to hold him accountable, but also help him.”
Candelario, who spent four years at the helm of the elections board before leaving to run for office earlier this year, didn’t rule out a future run for office.
“If the opportunity to serve presents itself, I’ll be there,” he said.
Vitale, 60, said she had expected to see better results, but complimented Ramos on running a clean campaign.
“No one goes into this and quits their job at my age to run if they don’t think they’re going to win,” she said.