By Carol Biliczky
Beacon Journal staff writer
It was a middling night for Democrats on the Summit County Council: Two held onto their at-large seats Tuesday, but the veteran politician with the most experience appeared to narrowly lose.
Democrat Jon Poda, 53, of Green; Democrat Ilene Shapiro, 63, of Akron; and Republican Bill Roemer, 54, of Richfield, won four-year terms on the 11-member legislative body.
With only a few precincts uncounted, Democrat Pete Crossland, 73, of Akron, was fourth in the six-person race. He has been on the Summit County Council for more than 20 years, in addition to stints in the Ohio legislature.
Reached by phone, Crossland said he hadn't heard that he lost.
''My goodness, that's a shock,'' he said. ''I think it's been a very tough year.''
Poda, who is council president, and Shapiro are finishing their first terms on the council.
The top vote-getter appeared to be Shapiro, who watched the election returns at Bricco restaurant in downtown Akron.
''I'm just thrilled,'' she said. ''I'm truly grateful.''
She said she will focus on making the county more financially sustainable, work force development and other economic issues in the new term.
While Republican challenger Gloria Rodgers, 65, of Stow, lost her bid for an at-large seat, she will stay on the council as a district representative for the northeast part of the county.
Roemer will join Rodgers as the only other Republican on the council. During the campaign, he pledged to give half of the $23,900 annual county salary to charity until Summit balances its budget without drawing on reserves.
He had run unsuccessfully for a council district seat in 2008.
Amy Schwan, 56, of Akron, was squeezed out of the six-way race despite her role as a local Tea Party leader. During her campaign, she said she had ideas to trim county spending but declined to identify her suggestions before the election.
In addition, district Councilman Frank Comunale, 62, of Akron, lost his bid for an Ohio Senate seat to Republican Frank LaRose. That means Comunale will keep his district seat on council.
Comunale, vice president of the council, represents part of Akron and Cuyahoga Falls.