Ohio's Ottawa County may point direction in 2012 election

Ottawa County has mirrored Ohio's presidential vote since 1944

By Roger Weber - Reporter

OTTAWA COUNTY, Ohio - Only 28,000 people in Ottawa County voted in the 2008 presidential election. So, what makes the county so special this year?

The last time Ottawa County did not mirror the Ohio presidential vote was 1944. That's when the county's voters chose presidential candidate Tom Dewey. In every election since that year, as Ottawa goes, so goes Ohio.

"The county, as a whole, probably looks at all the issues and votes for who they think is the best man instead of just political lines," said Marty Sutter, an Ottawa County resident.

Read more: Ohioans get final say after intense presidential campaigns

Ottawa County is home to the Davis Besse nuclear plant and Put-In-Bay. It honors Commodore Perry for his naval victory in the War of 1812. Now, in 2012, it's a battle for votes.

The county's chairpersons of the Democratic and Republican parties report a strong voter turnout.

"I would say compared to four years ago ... intensity is greatly enhanced," said Dan Laity, county Democratic chair.

County Republican Chair Carolyn Adams, who stood next to Laity, said many people were out knocking on doors.

It may seem unusual to have the dueling party chairs standing together, but each serves on the elections board. Ohio law requires two Democrats and two Republicans to oversee each county's election.

It's unclear which presidential candidate will claim Ohio's 18 electoral votes. However, if more than 60 years of history holds true, Ottawa County will point the way.

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