MERCER — On Feb. 1, the Common Pleas Court of Mercer County appointed Pete Acker to be district attorney.

On Tuesday, the county’s registered Republicans voted to keep him there.

Acker netted 6,134 votes (73.8 percent) to defeat Dustin Cole, with 2,170 (26.1 percent). There were nine write-in votes.

“I’m humbled by the overwhelming support,” Acker said. “I think it shows that they wanted decades of support in the office.”

With no Democratic candidate on the ballot, Acker is likely to win election to the office he now holds. There were 974 Democratic write-in votes for district attorney.

The two candidates battled over experience, with Acker arguing in favor of quantity, and Cole claiming to have superior quality in his background.

Acker has almost 40 years as a practicing attorney, mostly in Mercer County. He said that long-term experience was the key factor in winning the election.

He was appointed as district attorney when former District Attorney Miles Karson resigned after his conviction in January on charges of obstructing justice and official oppression. He was chosen for the appointment over Cole, who was the only other candidate to apply for the position.

Cole, who has a law practice in Hermitage, has been in practice for less than half as long as Acker. But Cole said his career exclusively in criminal defense gave him relevant experience.

Acker pointed out that he, unlike Cole, has experience as a prosecutor and took the victory as an endorsement of his work since being appointed to the office.

“We’re just going to continue doing what we’ve been doing the last four months,” Acker said.

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