According to unofficial election returns, Kokoski, a Democrat, received 71,573 votes, or 59 percent, compared with Musto’s 49,766 votes, or 41 percent.
“I’m glad it’s finally over, and I plan on making all the residents and people who voted for me proud,” Kokoski said at a Democratic victory party at the Knights of Columbus in Lorain.
Musto, who was with fellow Republican candidates at a party at the Ramada Inn in Elyria, said he was disappointed by the outcome.
“Everybody told me she would be tough to beat, but now we know which way the county wants to go,” Musto said. “The people have spoken.”
Even though Kokoski was widely viewed as the safer of the two Democratic commissioners — Commissioner Ted Kalo also won re-election Tuesday — she said she remained concerned until she started to see results coming in.
“You always worry, and that’s what makes you work at it,” she said.
Kokoski beat out two challengers in the Democratic primary in March.
Musto had poured far more money into his election effort than Kokoski did, according to their pre-election campaign finance reports. She had spent $5,007 compared with Musto’s $29,894. He also benefitted from $22,265 in-kind contributions.
Throughout the campaign, Musto criticized Kokoski for what he described as a tendency to vote with Kalo instead of siding with Commissioner Tom Williams, a Republican.
Kokoski, however, has countered that the commissioners vote unanimously most of the time and that it was Williams, not she and Kalo, who has brought partisanship to the commissioners’ meetings.