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Republicans sweep contested Belmont County races

Staff Report
Election signs fill the grass before the “Welcome to Barnesville” sign.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE -- When the dust cleared last week, Belmont County voters overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump and swept all contested races in the county in the November General Election.

Preliminary tabulations reveal voter turnout at an astounding 70 percent with 32,774 votes cast out of a pool of 46,315 registered voters.

During this year of COVID-19, absentee and early voters cast 19,782 votes (60 percent) while 12,992 voted on Election Day, Nov. 3 (40 percent).

In 2016, Trump captured 67 percent of the vote. That percentage went up to 71 percent this year. Just a generation ago, Belmont County and the tier of counties hugging the Ohio River were reliably Democratic up and down the ticket dating back to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s sweep in 1932 during the Great Depression.

Democrats were dominant thanks to a large industrial workforce consisting largely of immigrants and first-generation voters who were members of labor unions. There were one or two Republican officeholders in the county courthouse and, at times, none.

Except for President Richard Nixon’s 1972 re-election bid, Belmont County voted for the Democrat ticket until 2012 favoring Mitt Romney over Barack Obama that year.

Nationally, rural areas are trending Republican, and this area mirrors this change. Union jobs are long gone, the population older and declining.

As 2021 dawns, Republicans will hold all offices in Belmont County except for County Engineer.

Belmont County’s preliminary canvass of the 2020 General Election reveals the following:

President -- Joseph R. Biden, Jr. (D), 9,011; Donald J. Trump (R,) 23,110.

Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court (term commencing 1/2/2021) -- Jennifer Brunner, 16,150; Judi French, 10,428.

Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court (term commencing 1/1/2021) -- Sharon L. Kennedy, 17,100; John P. O'Donnell, 9,946.

Judge of Belmont County Court of Common Pleas (term commencing 1/1/2021) -- John A. Vavra, 22,496.

Judge of Belmont County Court of Common Pleas (term commencing 2/9/2021) -- Frank Fregiato, 24,339.

Judge OF Belmont County Court of Common Pleas (Probate Division) -- Albert E. Davies, 21,028.

Belmont County Commissioner (term Commencing 1/2/2021) -- Mike Bianconi (D), 10,984; Josh Meyer (R), 20,382.

Belmont County Commissioner (term Commencing 1/3/2021) -- J.P. Dutton (R), 17,717; Vince Gianangeli, 13,642.