Ohio House 14th: Ritter (D) Edges Foley (D) [UPDATED]
The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that public school history teacher Bill Ritter (D-Cleveland) has narrowly defeated SEIU-backed tenants organization director Mike Foley (D-Cleveland) in the Democratic primary for the Ohio House 14th District, according to unofficial results with absentee ballots included. The margin is only 115 votes (4151 to 4036). Ritter had drawn fire from the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats and political bloggers for mailing a newsletter attacking Foley for saying that he supports gay marriage and for winning the Stonewall endorsement, an obvious and odious example of gay-bashing. The lead in the race had appeared to change as votes were gradually added in the bungled election, with Foley shifting into a narrow lead on Friday. However, after the hand-counting of about 15,000 absentee ballots, Ritter was declared the winner on Sunday night, five days after the election.
UPDATE: A reader emailed me to say that over 120 late-arriving absentee ballots are yet to be counted, making it premature to declare Ritter the winner even at this late date. Then Russell at Buckeye State Blog posted this note from Foley, containing his assessment of the race at this point. He is surprised that the absentee ballots went against him, as he "really worked those hard." He doesn't think the final tally will show him winning, but he's hoping that the result is within the 0.5% margin that triggers an automatic recount. Even if it doesn't, he will seriously look at asking for a recount on his own.