Northeast Ohio voters spoke their minds at the polls Tuesday, and most of them wanted a Republican to continue representing them in Congress.
State Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green, defeated his Democratic adversary, Robin Weirauch, according to unofficial vote totals collected by the Wood County Board of Elections.
Latta, 51, received 56,367 votes from 16 different counties while Weirauch collected 42,563 votes.
Independent candidate John F. Green picked up 186 write-in votes.
Republican party members regarded the election results as a sign that Ohioans and perhaps voters nationwide are disappointed with how Democrats are running Congress.
During the 2006 election, Democrats seized control of the House for the first time since the mid 1990s.
The GOP won a second special election Tuesday night in Virginia, where State Rep. Rob Wittman defeated Democrat Philip Forgit.
"Political narrative continues to change and move away from the issues that brought Democrats success in 2006," Republican spokeswoman Jessica Boulanger said in an election night press release.
"The results of the special elections of 2007 are proof that Democrats won't get two 2006s in a row," said Boulanger, who is communications director for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
Ohio Democratic party officials regarded the election results as a moral victory, however, because the Republican party had to fight so hard to for a seat it's maintained for almost 70 years.
Latta faced a stronger challenge than expected after winning a close primary race in November.
Democrats put a lot of time and money into the race, which the party had all but conceded in past elections.
Gillmor's death and the expected low turnout of a special election gave the Democrats hope.
Weirauch, 50, was making her third run for the seat. She has never held a political office.
Last year, running against Gillmor, she received more votes -- 43 percent -- than any other Democrat in the district's history.
"In a district that George W. Bush carried with 61 percent of the vote and where registered Republicans outnumber Democrats by 50 percent, the GOP had to scramble to win a special election that should have been a cakewalk," Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern said Tuesday night in a press release.
"Tonight's election results show Republicans are more vulnerable than ever in Ohio."
Linda Furey, 60, of Norwalk, who cast her ballot at the Ernsthausen Performing Arts Center Tuesday afternoon, said she voted for Latta because she wants Republicans to control Congress.
"(Latta) is just more conservative, and I don't want to lose another seat in Ohio for Republicans," she said.
Wood County Board of Elections officials won't announce official totals any sooner than Jan. 2, but no later than Jan. 11 after provisional ballots have been counted.
Bob Latta is the son of former U.S. Rep. Delbert Latta, who represented Ohio's Fifth district before the late Paul Gillmor.
Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland scheduled Tuesday's special election in September after Gillmor died from accidentally falling down the stairs of his Arlington, Va., townhouse earlier that month.
Gillmor's term in the 16-county district runs until the end of next year.
Ohio elections officials reported no problems with voting machines unlike during the primary when glitches delayed vote counting for hours and forced the polls to stay open later.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.