STEUBENVILLE - U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson said this morning it will take a "different kind of leadership" over the next four years to get America back on track.
Unofficial results posted on the Ohio Secretary of State's website show Johnson, R-Marietta, defeating Democrat Charlie Wilson by a nearly 20,000 vote margin, 156,063-136,357, to win a second term in the House of Representatives.
Afterward, Johnson said he was extremely happy with what he referred to as a "decisive victory."
"It appears it's over, now it's on to the next fight - getting America back on track," he said. "We're very saddened that Gov. Romney and Paul Ryan did not win the White House, but we'll continue to press forward to create jobs in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio, (capitalize on) the natural resources we have, get regulatory agencies under control, repeal Obama-care and put patient-centered solutions in place and save and protect Medicare for our seniors."
Johnson said his message - smaller government, less spending and a focus on jobs, the economy and repealing the health care law - "resonated with the people of the 6th District."
But with the GOP retaining its control of the House and the Democrats doing the same in the Senate, he concedes "it's going to take a different kind of leadership" to bridge the political chasm that's created legislative gridlock in Washington over the past four years.
"I'm going to work hard to try and do that, but it's going to take them (the Democrat-controlled Senate) coming to the table," Johnson said. "Hopefully, they will see the fruits of that, the justification of that. Obama didn't get a mandate this evening - it was a very, very narrow victory for him, and he's got to understand America is concerned about his policies."
Johnson said when a country "gets to an ideological crossroads like we're at now, it's like the emergency brake gets pulled."
"I'll be working even harder to keep this administration from taking us closer and closer to the fiscal cliff," he said. "We don't want to be Greece, we don't want to be a failed economy. I want to keep America strong, I want to keep America prosperous, and that's what I'm going to fight for."
Johnson had held a 19,000 vote lead over Wilson into the early morning hours, with only Jefferson County still to report. The Associated Press called the race for Johnson at 1:15 a.m., though at that point Wilson's team refused to concede.
"We don't feel comfortable walking away from this race, given that the second largest county in the district - a county that represents nearly 15 percent of the total vote - is still outstanding," Wilson campaign manager J.R. Starrett said shortly after midnight.
"It's too close to call. We're not conceding until Jefferson County is counted."
Starrett could not be reached for comment after the Jefferson County results posted, and Wilson could not be reached this morning for comment.
Johnson, though, credited his campaign team for spearheading a "grassroots effort comparable to none."
"The battle has just begun," he said. "We've got a long way to go to get America back, but all we've done up to this point was well worth it."