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Shawna Roberts, Bill Johnson Advance to General Election

Political newcomer Shawna Roberts won the Democratic primary to face U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, in his autumn re-election bid to represent Ohio’s 6th Congressional District in the U.S. House.

Roberts, a resident of Belmont, won with 21,798 votes over Werner Lange of Newton Falls, who received 7,478 votes. Johnson won his primary with 49,835 votes, or more than 80 percent of the Republican ballots, in his favor over challenger Robert Blazek of Bellaire, who received 9,409 votes.

Johnson, who was in Washington where Congress was in session until mid-evening Tuesday, said, “I am very humbled, very blessed and certainly honored and I will be working hard and not taking anything for granted up to the election in November.

“I am going to continue to earn the trust and confidence of the people in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio. I think that the confidence the people are expressing in the economic growth and tax reform, in keeping more of their hard-earned money, in the regulations that have been taken off the backs of small business is reflected in the confidence that the people are showing,” he said.

He noted Republicans had cast nearly twice as many votes as Democrats by mid-evening returns in the Tuesday primary.

Asked if his big margin in the primary represented a rejection of more radical positions by his Republican opponent, Johnson said, “I think the people of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio want somebody that is engaged with them. They need to see the whites of your eyes in order to support you for election at this level. I have worked long and hard, and I am going to continue to work hard to earn their trust and confidence. It’s a process that happens each and every day.”

Johnson said he planned to get a few hours of sleep and go back to work in the House of Representatives today.

Roberts thanked voters for their support.

“This is so exciting because it means the people of the district that I have talked to are willing to let me go ahead and do the best I can to represent them. I am so grateful to them for giving me this opportunity to help this district to be prosperous. It’s scary, too, because it means I am going to be responsible for making sure that I do right by everybody, and that is a scary responsibility. I have a whole bunch of really good people with me who I think can help me get it done right.”

She gives herself a 50-50 chance against incumbent Johnson in the fall.

“This year is going to be so unpredictable. I think at this point, there is no way of knowing who is going to win. There are so many things going on, so many odd, unexpected and unpredictable things going on,” Roberts said. “There is not any way to predict who will win and who won’t. We will see what will happen later on.”

Asked if she thought her low-key campaign with lots of face-to-face contact made a statement, she said, “It says to me that people are really interested in somebody who is interested in them. That’s what’s most important. I do not care if you are a Republican or a Democrat or what you are. If you are in this district, you deserve to have a prosperous life and health care and what you need to be able to thrive and raise your kids and have a great life.”

Roberts was celebrating with family and friends at the Fairfield Inn and Suites in St. Clairsville.

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