November 26, 2014

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Chase Ritenauer defeats Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko in primary

LORAIN — Chase Ritenauer crushed Lorain Mayor Tony Krasienko in the Democratic primary on Tuesday.

Chase Ritenauer addresses his supporters at Rosewood party center. (CT photo by Chuck Humel.)

Chase Ritenauer addresses his supporters at Rosewood party center. (CT photo by Chuck Humel.)

Ritenauer took 53.3 percent of the vote, garnering 3,988 votes compared to Krasienko’s 2,424 votes, or 32.4 percent of the vote, according to unofficial returns from the Lorain County Board of Elections. City Councilman Mitch Fallis, D-at large, received 1,071 votes, or 14.3 percent of the total ballots cast.

Ritenauer will face Republican Tim Baxter, who was unopposed in his party’s primary, in November.

During a speech to a crowd of enthusiastic supporters at Rosewood Party Center, Ritenauer said him campaign was about doing away with the old way of running the city.

“The voters of the city overwhelmingly said we’re tired of it too,” he said.

Ritenauer, a former deputy safety service director in Lorain, praised his supporters for their hard work and urged them to be respectful of those who backed his opponents. He said he ran a clean campaign and plans to call Baxter this week and tell him he wants the November general election to be a “spirited” discussion of the best way to move the city forward.

“You take the high road and do the right thing,” Ritenauer said.

Krasienko said he was disappointed he won’t be able to continue on as mayor into a second term. But he believes he has done good things for the city during his time in office.

“We took over a city in total disarray and we’ll be turning over a city that’s way more effective with a balanced budget and a plan for the future of this city,” he said.

Krasienko said he has seven more months of work ahead of him and has plans to do a lot more before he leaves office. Exactly what he will do then, he said he isn’t sure yet.

“I had a very successful career before I was mayor and I’ll have a very successful career after I’m mayor,” he said.

Krasienko was a project manager in the sheet metal trade and a long-time member of City Council before he defeated then-Mayor John Romoser, a Republican, four years ago.

Fallis, who gave up his seat on Council to run for mayor, said he had hoped to have a better showing in the election.

“I thought I had a good message. I thought I had a good plan,” he said. “I’m disappointed.”

Ritenauer praised Fallis during his speech, telling his supporters that Fallis ran a good campaign and shared many of his concerns about the problems facing the city.

While he gears up for the November election, Ritenauer said he is examining opportunities for work. He resigned from his job as North Olmsted’s safety-service director, in the middle of the campaign after learning that his candidacy violated the Hatch Act, a federal law that bars public officials who deal with federal funds from running in partisan elections.

Ritenauer said North Olmsted Mayor Kevin Kennedy may have some work for him dealing with some projects that don’t involved federal funding. But first Ritenauer — who is the grandson of former four-term Lorain County Commissioner Fred Ritenauer — said he plans to take a week off before making any decisions like that.

Contact Brad Dicken at 329-7147 or bdicken@chroniclet.com.