Dem wins central Ohio congressional race

December 7, 2008 5:08:00 PM PST
Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy snatched a seat from House Republicans on Sunday in a tight central Ohio race after elections officials tallied provisional ballots. Kilroy's victory by a little more than 2,000 votes over Republican Steve Stivers put the 15th Congressional District into Democratic hands after the retirement from Congress of Republican Deborah Pryce.

County officials released unofficial results Sunday that showed Kilroy with a margin of victory of 2,311 votes out of roughly 300,000 cast, enough to avoid an automatic recount.

Provisional ballots are issued at polls to people who believe they were wrongly denied the right to vote. Kilroy was down by 594 votes when officials began counting about 9,600 provisional ballots in her district.

"I am very proud to serve our community as the next congresswoman from central Ohio," Kilroy said in a statement. "In Washington, I will work together with both Democrats, Republicans and president-elect Obama to tackle the real problems that our community faces."

Stivers spokesman Rob Nichols said Stivers was conceding the race and planned to release a statement.

With Kilroy's victory, Democrats will hold 256 seats in the House, compared with 177 Republicans. Two House races in Virginia and Louisiana are still up in the air.

Kilroy narrowly lost election to the congressional seat in 2006, when she came within fewer than 2,000 votes of unseating Pryce.

That race required a recount.