On November 5, Delaware County voters showed up and supported Democrats in important Main Street elections. Our candidates won some of these, and increased the share of votes for Democrats in many others. In every one, we can be proud of our candidates and the way they worked together, as well as the support provided by our many volunteers. Let’s savor this win and prepare for what’s ahead in 2020!
Heather Karr was the TOP VOTE GETTER, and CLEAR WINNER for Powell City Council. With six candidates vying for three City Council seats, Heather got the highest number of votes by a clear margin. Second place went to Republican Daniel Swartwout, but third place is likely to require a recount to determine the winner between current Powell Mayor Jon Bennehoof and challenger Nicole Scott, both Republicans. Congratulations, Heather!
We also saw amazing gains in Democratic vote share at the county level. With 40.91%, Emma Jones, candidate for Municipal Court Clerk, has set a new bar for county-wide contests. We’ve seen an upward trend from 2014 (28.56% for County Commissioner), and 2018 (34.88% for County Auditor and 38.94% for County Commissioner).
Westerville City Council elected three Democrats, flipping from a Republican to Democratic majority: incumbent Craig Treneff (D) was re-elected, DCDP endorsed Delaware County resident Kenneth Wright gained another seat, and the third seat went to Diana Conley. Westerville City School Board now includes Jen Aultman and Vaughn Bell, both of whom were screened and endorsed by the Delaware County Democratic Party. Westerville voters also approved a Bond Issue for Westerville City Schools, which was endorsed by our local party.
Delaware City Council also gained Democrats, though we will not be a majority there, with just three of seven seats. This year, the four Ward seats were up for election, while three others are elected At Large, and will be on the ballot in 2021. First Ward voters re-elected Chris Jones, a Democrat, and retained Republican incumbent Lisa Keller in the Second Ward. Two new Democrats, Cory Hoffman and Drew Farrell, were elected in the Third and Fourth Wards respectively.
Our Candidate Screening Committee also interviewed and endorsed Aileen Wagner for Westerville City Council, Sandi Allen for Dublin City Council, and Sherri Dorsch, who was elected to the Big Walnut LSD Board of Education. The committee interviewed Jill Love, the newly elected Mayor of Galena, and Mayor Pat Monahan, who has served the village of Shawnee Hills for many years, but they did not seek partisan endorsement for this election.
Our greatest disappointment of this election was in Liberty Township, where we had an outstanding first-time candidate and campaigner in Melanie Farkas. Perceived as a serious threat to Republicans at the state and even national level, Melanie came in second with 32.85% to Bryan Newell (50.82%), who currently serves as the Chair of the Board of Zoning Appeals in Liberty Township, and was also endorsed by the Liberty Township Fire Fighters Association.Thanks to all of our candidates who ran serious, respectable campaigns – we are so proud of you! And thanks to all who volunteered to support our candidates; here are a few highlights:
- All of our candidates worked to support each other, and worked hard on their own campaigns.
- Campaign manager Spencer Dirrig provided professional expertise to many of these local races.
- Our newly formed Candidate Screening Committee, chaired by Joyce Bourgault, met with some previously unaffiliated Democratic candidates, providing endorsements and financial support.
- Westerville Progressive Alliance provided hours of support for Westerville City Council, Board of Education candidates and Municipal Court Clerk candidate Emma Jones.
- Volunteers wrote postcards, marched in parades, attended fundraising parties, donated funds, helped with canvassing, and displayed yard signs.
- Volunteers supported candidates and promoted participation at First Friday in Delaware and Fourth Friday in Westerville.
- Indivisible 12 endorsed candidates, posted on social media, organized Days of Action, and wrote post cards.
- Joydeep “Jay” Gupta and Donna Sinclair, along with multiple volunteers and candidates, organized “Meet and Greet” picnics in three different locations around the county.
- In cooperation with Franklin County Dems and the Ohio Democratic Party (ODP), our local party created and paid for a “walk around” piece of literature AND a mailer for the city of Westerville, to promote candidates for Westerville City Council and Emma Jones for Municipal Clerk of Court.
- When it was time to Get Out The Vote (GOTV), the Ohio Democratic Party supported our candidates by creating a Mobilize event and providing a few extra volunteers to knock doors, make calls, and set out yard signs.
Results of some contests were very close, so watch the Board of Elections website to see when the Board will meet to finalize the official results and determine whether a recount is required. As always, Board of Elections meetings are open to the public, and we encourage those interested to attend. While overall Voter Turnout for this election was not high (26.39%), it will be interesting to see the detailed analysis of election results in the areas with highly contested races.
Looking to the future –In 2020, there will be local elections, two Ohio Supreme Court races, as well as the Presidential election; December 18 is an important deadline for all of these. Central Committee candidates need to complete a Declaration of Candidacy form to get your name placed on the March 17 Primary Ballot. Those interested in serving as a delegate to the national convention need to complete a Declaration of Candidacy form AND participate in a caucus selection process in Delaware on January 7, 2020. Those who are supporting any of the Presidential candidates are currently seeking petition signers to make sure their candidate will be on Ohio’s Primary ballot.
Again, thanks to all who volunteered, ran for office, or supported these campaigns in any way. Rest up, and let’s do even better in 2020!