Judge Timothy Grendell will retain his seat on the Geauga County Probate and Juvenile Court after a close win over challenger Matthew Rambo in Tuesday’s Republican primary election.

Judge Grendell garnered 6,580 votes to Mr. Rambo’s 6,109, according to unofficial results from the Geauga County Board of Elections.

The March 17 general election was postponed after Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton closed in-person polling places due to the COVID-19 health emergency. The General Assembly then reset the date to April 28 and approved a mostly vote-by-mail primary.

The legislature determined that there would be no in-person voting except for people with disabilities and those with no mailing address including homeless.

Mail-in ballots had to be postmarked by April 27 to be counted, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

“I think there are at least a certain number of ballots outstanding,” Mr. Rambo said Tuesday night. “I realize that I am behind, I’m disappointed in the results. I wish that it had gone better but it’s a democracy and the people have voted.”

Mr. Rambo said that he will refrain from making an official statement until all votes are counted. The board of elections will still count ballots that arrive up to 10 days after Election Day if they were postmarked on or before April 27, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose has said.

Judge Grendell, who won by a margin of 471 votes, did not return calls from the Times.

With no candidates in the Democratic primary, Judge Grendell will be serving another six-year term beginning Feb. 9, 2021.

Judge Grendell, 66, of Chester Township was appointed to the bench in 2011 by former Gov. John Kasich and won re-election six years ago. He also has served as a state senator and served in the Ohio House of Representatives. The judge is married to Diane Grendell, who is the District 76 state representative to the Ohio legislature. She won her Republican primary bid on Tuesday over Frank Hall.

Mr. Rambo, 41, of Russell Township is an associate attorney for the law firm Freeburg and Freeburg, LLC. He previously served as a magistrate for the Ohio Court of Claims, worked as a staff attorney for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court and was an associate attorney with Collins and Scanlon, LPA. Mr. Rambo ran for judge as a Democrat on the Geauga County Common Pleas Court in 2018 and did not win the seat.

Mr. Rambo is active in the community as a member of the Geauga County Bar Association, the Geauga County Township Association and the Geauga County Historical Society. In addition, Mr. Rambo’s family is a foster family with the Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village.

“I will always be involved in the community in Geauga County,” he said Tuesday, such as working with the Legal Aid Society at the Chagrin Falls Park Community Center. “All of these are things we can’t do too much of right now because of the pandemic. But once things get back to normal, we’ll stay engaged.”

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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