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Dutton Wins in 3-Man Race for Board Seat

Republican J.P. Dutton won his bid for a county commission seat during a three-way race to fill a seat left vacant by Ginny Favede.

Favede vacated the seat to run for a seat with the Ohio House of Representatives this election. She, however, lost her bid to Republican Andy Thompson.

Dutton garnered 13,724 votes. Other challengers for the seat included Democrat Mike Bianconi, who received 9,513 votes, and Independent Brian Schambach, who received 6,705 votes, according to unofficial vote totals.

“I really enjoyed the campaign. Being a new candidate I had the opportunity to show the people of the county how hard I can work for them. … I had a good group helping us through,” Dutton said.

Dutton noted he was glad the campaign was over, adding his fellow candidates both ran good campaigns. Dutton said when he begins his duties he plans to have assessments conducted to see where improvements can be made to the county’s infrastructure.

Dutton, a St. Clairsville resident, has been employed at Leonardo Technologies Inc. as an energy analyst. Prior to his work with LTI, he spent eight years working for the U.S. House of Representatives and Congressman Bob Ney.

As the final votes were being tallied at the Belmont County Board of Elections building, Bianconi conceded the victory to Dutton.

“It appears Mr. Dutton has won. The people have spoken. Mr. Dutton ran a great campaign — I wish him the best,” Bianconi said.

Bianconi is a resident of Brookside and a graduate of St. John Central High School. He is retired from Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel. He first joined the Wolfhurst Volunteer Fire Department at age 18 and continues to serve as a member today. He also is a military veteran.

Schambach could not be reached for comment at press time. Schambach is a former Marshall County commissioner who surrendered that seat at the end of 2014 when he moved to St. Clairsville. Though he lived in West Virginia for several years, Schambach grew up in the West Wheeling section of Belmont County and lived in the county for 29 years. The 1975 Bridgeport High School graduate later earned a degree at Wheeling Jesuit University. For 30 years, he worked for the Calgon chemical company. He now serves as president of the BlueChem chemical distribution firm.

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