Democratic Party leader: "We got wiped out." - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Democratic Party leader: "We got wiped out."

Senator McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao wave to the victory celebration crowd. (FOX19) Senator McConnell and his wife Elaine Chao wave to the victory celebration crowd. (FOX19)
Republicans won big in Tuesday's elections, taking control of the U.S. Senate and gaining seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, while the Democrats "got wiped out."

In one of the closest, expensive and most heated races, Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell held off Democratic challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes. With the Republican gains, he is expected to be the Majority Leader in January.

Speaker John Boehner held onto his seat and is poised for a third term as head of the House. He told the Associated Press late Tuesday the new Republican-controlled Congress would vote soon in the new year on the "many common-sense jobs and energy bills that passed the Republican-led House in recent years with bipartisan support but were never even brought to a vote by the outgoing Senate majority."

In other Republican-led races, Ohio Gov. John Kasich will remain in office, easily beating Cleveland-area Democrat Ed FitzGerald, and Mike DeWine beat David Pepper for attorney general. David Yost held onto his post as Ohio Auditor, and Josh Mandel defeated challenger Connie Pillich in a close treasurer race.

"Voters went Republican because they see that the policies of the Democratic party are failing," said Alex Triantafilou, chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party. "The Democrats have stood for stagnant growth, slow job creation, and mismanagement on the basics of government. The results show that the GOP is very much alive as a national and local political movement and that rumors of our demise, much circulated after 2012, are exaggerated. The principles of freedom and capitalism are alive--that's what it shows.

"Voters went Republican because they are upset at how poorly the government has been managed by the President AND Ohio voters recognize John Kasich as a true leader who is not afraid to stand up to his own party to do what he thinks is right," he continued. "Kasich won 86 of 88 counties and dominated southwest Ohio because he is doing it right."

Democrats are still licking their wounds this morning, but there are some silver linings.

"We got wiped out,” said Tim Burke,chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party. “And it was particularly upsetting for us down here to see two of our starters, David Pepper and Connie Pillich, lose the way they did. How much of that we can attribute to the fact that it's been months since we thought we had a chance in the governor's race is something people are going to be talking about in the Democratic Party for a long time.”

Locally, a pair of Republican incumbents were re-elected in Hamilton County: Chris Monzel beat Democrat Sean Patrick Feeney and write-in candidate Jim Tarbell. Dusty Rhodes will keep his seat as Hamilton County's auditor.

Judge Ralph Winkler held onto his judgeship, fending off a challenge from a former Cincinnati mayor, Charlie Luken. Hamilton County Juvenile Court Judge John Williams will remain in office after receiving more votes than attorney Jennifer Branch.

A former Cincinnati city councilman, Cecil Thomas, soundly beat opponent and current Councilman Charlie Winburn for the Ohio State Senate District 9 seat Eric Kearney is vacating.

Burke said he was surprised local Democratic candidates did as well as they did in light of the turnout nationally and statewide.

"We sure would have liked to have done better. I thought Charlie Luken would do better. (But) the county that used to be a reliably dark red county is not that anymore when you look at the executive county-wide officers, we are about even," Burke said. "But we've had a hard time breaking into the ranks of judges. It's a gain, but not what we expected or hoped for.”

Burke was cheered by Thomas' victory - and a surprising one for Pat Foley over an incumbent Republican judge, Carl Stich Jr., for Hamilton County Common Pleas Court.

“That doesn't happen very often,” Burke noted.

Issue 8, the levy to restore historic Union Terminal, easily passed 61 percent to 38 percent. The quarter of one percent sales tax means you will pay an additional 2 cents for every $10 you spend in Hamilton County for the next five years. The tax is expected to generate more than $170 million in funding the full restoration of the building.

A renewal levy to generate $65.2 million annually for Cincinnati Public Schools passed by 70 percent. 

School levies passed for the Mariemont and Forest Hills districts but failed in Winton Woods and Lockland. 

For more information, see election results here.

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