ASHLAND — Melanie Miller became Ashland’s hometown hero Tuesday as unofficial results showed a landslide victory for the first-time political candidate.
The Republican pageant queen and director of Ashland Pregnancy Care Center earned 62.3% of the votes across the newly drawn Ohio House District 67 during the state’s second primary.
Ron Falconi, the Republican mayor of Brunswick in Medina County, trailed Miller with 30.5% of the votes. Terry Robertson, also a Republican, grabbed 7.2%.
Miller’s victory Tuesday means she will face Drew Burge, a Democrat, in the November election.
Burge earned a total of 1,785 votes, according to unofficial results from the Ohio Secretary of State.
State House District 67 includes all of Ashland County and part of Medina County. The district was part of the contentious redistricting process, which delayed the primary election for the state’s central committees and state legislative nominees.
Miller, joined by her husband — Ashland Mayor Matt Miller — declared victory around 9:30 p.m. from her festive headquarters along East Main Street, citing results from the Associated Press.
“We are going to take back Ohio for the Lord,” she said, prompting the crowd of around 50 supporters to erupt into applause and cheers.
Miller said she felt a “peace in my heart” all day leading up to the results and also excited.
“Like a kid waiting for Christmas morning,” she said.
She said Ashland County’s turnout, a whopping 14.8%, humbled her. Miller said she was grateful for the support she experienced at the polls, citing unofficial results from the Ashland County Board of Elections.
Medina County’s turnout was 7.79%, according to unofficial results from the county’s board of elections. Miller earned 1,198 votes in that part of the district, versus Falconi’s 2,085 and Robertson’s 321.
Miller is confident the November election will also result in a win, but she acknowledged the fight isn’t over. After taking a break to recharge from a nine-month race, she said she will resume rallying support in Ashland and Medina counties.
“We’re gonna continue to knock on doors, we’re gonna continue to meet as many people as we can. And I’m going to continue to learn a lot about the issues,” she said.
Miller’s platform has centered around “freedom, education, pro business and strong families.”
As the director of a pregnancy center that does not provide abortions, she has stood as a pro-life advocate, earning her an endorsement from Ohio Right to Life, an organization focused on promoting and defending “the right to life of all innocent human beings, from the time of fertilization until natural death.”
The Ashland County Board of Elections will meet to certify Tuesday’s results on Aug. 17. Medina’s board of elections will meet to certify results on Aug. 22.