ELYRIA — Lorain County Commissioner Lori Kokoski beat out two opponents to win her Democratic primary on Tuesday.
Kokoski, who is in her second term, will face off against Columbia Township Trustee Mike Musto in the fall. Musto was unopposed in his bid for the Republican nomination.
Although Kokoski won the race, she didn’t get a mandate, according to unofficial returns from the Lorain County Board of Elections.
The returns show that Kokoski took 10,045 votes, or 40 percent of the total ballots cast. Former county sheriff’s Capt. Rich Resendez finished second with 7,956 votes, or 32 percent of the vote.
Former Elyria Mayor Bill Grace, who was defeated in his own re-election bid last year, finished third with 7,054 votes or 28 percent.
Kokoski said she was thrilled with her victory Tuesday and was looking forward to a break from campaigning.
“I can’t wait to go back to work and focus on work without all these distractions,” she said.
Musto said he’s held off planning a strategy for the fall because he wasn’t certain which of the three candidates in the Democratic primary would emerge victorious.
“I think Lori’s going to be a formidable opponent and I’m going to have to work hard,” he said.
Kokoski said she plans to run a strong campaign in November.
“I’m pretty confident for the fall, but I’ll still work for that as well,” she said.
Resendez said he felt he ran a good race for someone who’s never sought political office before. He said it’s hard to beat an incumbent and he also faced the challenge of going against a former three-term mayor.
“I’m disappointed, obviously, in not winning, but I’m not disappointed in the way that I ran the campaign,” Resendez said. “I’m not disappointed in the total votes I got.”
Despite their defeats on Tuesday, both Resendez and Grace said they planned to back Kokoski in November.
Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or firstname.lastname@example.org.