Just 43 votes made all the difference Tuesday as Hans Schneider won the Wellington mayoral seat.
He defeated opponent Patti Young by a slim 3.5 percent margin, according to unofficial Election Night results that will be certified in the coming weeks.
The split was 620 votes (51.8 percent) for Schneider and 577 (48.2 percent) for Young.
The close balance was no surprise to Schneider.
“I went back and forth all day,” he said. “I could see it playing out both ways.”
Young also thought it was going to be a closer race but was hoping to come out victorious. “I had no idea which way it would go,” she said.
She earned the support of outbound Wellington mayor Barbara O’Keefe, which made it a tough campaign, Schneider said: “I knew I had my work cut out for me. Barb’s beloved here. Her word carries.”
Schneider learned that lesson firsthand, losing to O’Keefe in the mayoral election four years ago.
The end of this year will wrap up the longtime mayor’s 22nd year leading the village.
“There’s big shoes to fill up there now,” Schneider said. “She set the bar high. I’m going to work hard to reach that bar.”
He eagerly waited Tuesday at home with a few close friends and his family for the results to be posted by the Lorain County board of elections.
“I’m thankful to my supporters and I’m going to work hard to unite the community. We were really divided on this but I’m going to work hard to earn the support of the other side,” he said when 100 percent of precincts had reported in.
Schneider said he’s enjoying the moment for now but is looking forward to starting his term in January.
“I’m here to work for the community,” he said. “I’m going to sit down with our employees and find out how we can best serve our residents.”
Despite losing the race, Young said she enjoyed the process and is relieved the campaign is over.
“Being mayor is a lot of responsibility, a lot of meetings, a lot of time dedicated to it, a lot of thought processes and relationships and trying to get things to happen and I don’t have to worry about that now so that’s kind of nice,” she said.
Young said she hasn’t thought too much about her future plans but does intend to keep busy running her business, Wellington Implement.
Kelsey Leyva can be reached at 440-647-3171 or @TWE_KelseyLeyva on Twitter.