Shane Wilkin
Shane Wilkin
Highland County commissioner Shane Wilkin has been elected to replace former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger as the 91st District Representative.

Wilkin received an unofficial 5,962 total votes – 56 percent of the vote – defeating Beth Ellis, who unofficially received 4,603 votes. In Highland County, Wilkin received nearly 70 percent of the vote with 2,624 votes, unofficially, as Ellis received 1,126.


In other counties, unofficial results included:

• Clinton County: Ellis 2,658; Wilkin 2,041.

• Pike County: Wilkin 1,102; Ellis 672.

• Ross County: Wilkin 195; Ellis 147.

As previously reported in The Highland County Press, Rosenberger, who was Ohio House Speaker, resigned effective April 12 amid a possible FBI investigation. Rosenberger was in his fourth term. Wilkin will be filling Rosenberger’s House seat until the Nov. 6 election, when he will face Democratic candidate Justin Grimes of New Vienna.

Wilkin spoke to The Highland County Press following the election Tuesday night and said that he is "looking forward to the challenge” of representing the 91st District.

“I’m super excited and super nervous,” Wilkin said. “Coming into county office, there was a learning curve, and going into state office is a learning curve. All along, I felt like my experience as a county officeholder would help me, but there’s still going to be a lot to learn. I look forward to the challenge.”

Wilkin has served as commission president since his first term began in 2009. As commissioner, Wilkin has assisted with bringing jobs to Highland County through PAS Technologies in Hillsboro, C-Mold and Corvac Composites, LLC in Greenfield and the Leesburg Industrial Park. Wilkin also owns and operates a family business and is a real estate professional with Donald E. Fender, Inc. Realtors in Hillsboro. He is a past president of the Highland County Board of Realtors.

Wilkin said that leaving Highland County will be “bittersweet.”

“It’ll be incredibly bittersweet,” Wilkin said. “As tough as it was in the early years, as we started to get better as a county, I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made.

“The elected officials I’ve been able to work with over the years have been wonderful. They’ve been supportive, they’ve worked together, and their goal was to make Highland County better. They did that without a lot of acknowledgement at times, but it was a team. Everyone understood we needed to move the county forward, and sometimes we had to try to move forward when there wasn’t a lot of money to move with.”

Wilkin thanked the voters, as well as those who assisted with his campaign.

“It was definitely a tremendous amount of work, and I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of people,” Wilkin said. “Thank you to everyone that helped, volunteered, knocked on doors, made phone calls, sent out letters. We worked hard. We had a very grassroots campaign, with a lot of people within the district supporting us, and I think that’s what pushed us over the top. I really sincerely appreciate everyone out there.”

Wilkin also offered congratulations to Ellis for her first campaign for political office.

“I would compliment Ms. Ellis on her campaign,” Wilkin said. “I know jumping into a race of this magnitude right off the bat is tough. I know she worked hard, and I offer my congratulations to her for a great job.”

Wilkin’s election to the 91st District means that there will be two contested races for Highland County commissioner this November. After Wilkin resigns from the Board of Commissioners, the Highland County Republican Central Committee will appoint an interim commissioner to replace Wilkin on the board until the Nov. 6 election. Following the official count, the Republican Central Committee and Democratic Central Committee will each appoint a respective candidate to replace Wilkin.

The other contested commissioner race will be between Republican incumbent Jeff Duncan and Democratic candidate and current Democratic Central Committee member John Knauff.

To read the Highland County primary results, click here. Check back to for additional election recaps.

(Stephen Forsha of The Highland County Press contributed to this article.)