Nov 3, 2021 - News

An Election Day recap around Franklin County

A person pulls off "Ohio Voted" stickers at a polling place.

A volunteer tears "OHIO VOTED" stickers inside the Franklin County Board of Elections Office in October 2020. Photo: Ty Wright/Getty Images

Local politics had the spotlight Tuesday, with Ohio voters deciding a variety of community elections and ballot issues.

By the numbers: Turnout was low in Franklin County for the "off-year" election, with less than 25% of registered voters casting ballots.

  • Results are unofficial and will be certified later this month.

Here are brief recaps of the top local elections.

Columbus City Council

Democrats campaigning as a team swept all three seats up for grabs on Columbus City Council.

  • The trio of Shannon Hardin, Lourdes Barroso de Padilla and Nick Bankston defeated an independent challenger, Tom Sussi.
  • Hardin, the Council president, is the only one currently serving.

Between the lines: The result marks another victory for the city's Democratic Party establishment.

  • Tom Sussi had hoped to bring his pugilistic style to City Hall — voters at Tyler's precinct were greeted by a political sign featuring Sussi wearing boxing gloves — but his defeat ensures Democrats remain in full control for at least the next two years.

Columbus Board of Education

Newcomer Christina Vera unseated board member James C. Ragland, who apparently ruffled a few feathers too many during his nearly four years served.

Flashback: The district's teachers union campaigned hard against Ragland after he took a job with an advocate for charter schools in 2019.

Driving the news: Vera — a district parent, Brookhaven High School graduate and founder of a nonprofit focused on empowering girls and women — received endorsements from the union and Franklin County Democratic Party.

Issue 7

Columbus voters roundly rejected a ballot initiative that would have diverted $87 million in city funds to clean energy causes controlled by a shadowy petition group.

State of play: Issue 7 faced an onslaught of criticism from city leaders while its backers stayed silent for much of the campaign season.

What they said: Mayor Andrew Ginther had called the ballot issue a "scheme" to steal taxpayer money and warned its passage would have forced cuts to public services.

What we're watching: Project manager John A. Clark Jr. told Axios before the vote that the petitioners are already planning to try again on the 2022 primary ballot.

Ohio 15th Congressional District Special Election

Voters opted to keep the 15th District in Republican hands for the next year.

  • Mike Carey, a coal lobbyist backed by former President Trump, won a special election over Democrat Allison Russo to fill the vacant seat.

Why it matters: The race was one of three congressional special elections nationwide on Tuesday.

  • Democrats won two of three, extending the party's narrow majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Other noteworthy races

Worthington school board member Nikki Hudson keeps her seat despite a considerable opposition campaign that attracted national attention.

  • Voters also elected Kelli Davis and Jennifer Hitt Best to the board.

Bexley voters approved a charter amendment stating that the city "rejects all forms of racism, discrimination, anti-Semitism and all hate-based conduct."

  • They also approved a second amendment formalizing a city review board that examines complaints of unlawful discrimination or bias.

The Reynoldsburg school district won't replace a middle school built in 1868 after voters rejected a combination bond issue and levy.

Hilliard's income tax rate will increase from 2% to 2.5%. The new funds are dedicated to recreation and parks, including the construction of a new community center.

Find all of Franklin County's unofficial results here.


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