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Election 2018 — Dems revived despite losses

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On their face, the results of the Nov. 6 midterm elections in both Greene County and the state maintained the Republican-dominant status quo, with Republican candidates — many incumbent — winning most area and state races. 

But a deeper look shows that change is occurring, as Democratic candidates — many of them women running for the first time — led a wave of increased civic engagement that promises to stay active in the months and even years to come.

New candidate Kim McCarthy, for one, says she isn’t going anywhere. 

Running as a Democrat, McCarthy took on Republican State Rep. Rick Perales, who is currently in his third two-year term representing Ohio District 73, which represents western Greene County, including Yellow Springs.

While local voters came out overwhelmingly in support of McCarthy, who lives in Bellbrook, the district as a whole voted to return Beavercreek-based Perales to the statehouse.

In an interview this week, McCarthy said that she has always considered herself a politically engaged citizen, but the 2016 presidential election pushed her to become even more active. She began attending the Greene County Board of Commissioners meetings, increased efforts on behalf of the county’s Democratic Party, and then decided to “step up” to challenge Perales for the state representative seat.

She said she not only wanted to take more progressive views to the statehouse, where legislation is written and adopted, but she also thought she had a competitive chance.

“I couldn’t have done it if I didn’t think I had a chance of winning,” she said.

Other area women also stepped up, mirroring a trend across the country that many political observers saw as a response to a call to run for office that emerged from the Women’s March in January 2017.

The 2018 Greene County Democratic ticket was comprised solely of women: Besides McCarthy, there was Theresa Gasper, challenging U.S. Rep. Mike Turner in the 10th Congressional District; Suzan Lopez, running against Dick Gould for county commissioner; and Cyndi Pauwels, up against AJ Williams for county clerk of courts.

McCarthy said that she and other Democratic candidates in the state found that party infrastructure was absent or minimal, especially in Greene County, where she said that the idea that Democrats have given up was pervasive.

This fall’s campaigns began building new networks that McCarthy said she intends to help make stronger so they’ll be ready for the next election cycle.

“It definitely is the start of something,” she said of the work accomplished over the past year.

And she’s proud that though she lost, she still achieved the highest vote percentage — at 40 percent — for a Democrat in Greene County within anyone’s recent memory.

Writing about the election online last week, Miami Township Trustee and former county elections board member Don Hollister concluded that “Kim McCarthy’s numbers are striking.”

According to the final unofficial results from the county board of elections, the total vote was 28,742 (60 percent) for Perales and 19,346 (40 percent) for McCarthy. (The official vote, tallies in all races will be certified Tuesday Nov. 20.)

Locally, however, the vote went the other way, with McCarthy taking 91 percent and Perales getting 9 percent in Yellow Springs’ four precincts.

By precinct, the village and adjacent Miami Township breakdown was:

Precinct 440 (north side of town): McCarthy 608; Perales 58.

Precinct 441 (western side): McCarthy 608; Perales 58.

Precinct 442 (town center): McCarthy 446; Perales 48.

Precinct 443 (south side): McCarthy 545; Perales 62.

Precinct 455 (Miami Township, eastern portion): McCarthy 138; Perales 211.

Precinct 456 (Miami Township, western portion): McCarthy 266; Perales 133.

Local stats counter county, state

Similar to the results of the Perales/McCarthy contest, village voters charted a course contrary to the surrounding county and state in most candidate races.

Local turnout was high as well. With 3,335 registered local voters, 82 percent of them cast a ballot in the Nov. 6 election, according to the Greene County Board of Elections.

In the county, registered voters number 117,958. With 79,364 votes cast, county turnout was 67.28 percent.

Statewide, according to the state secretary of state’s office, Ohio has 8,070,917 registered voters. The state reported that of those, 4,382,382, or 54.3 percent, cast a ballot this fall, reportedly the highest midterm turnout in two decades.

According to media reports, the higher turnout numbers echoed increased voter activity in states across the country. Nationally, the results led to a turnover in the House of Representatives from Republican control to Democrat, while the Senate remained in Republican hands.

Relevant races for local voters were the U.S. House District 10 contest between Democratic challenger Theresa Gasper and incumbent Mike Turner and the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown and challenger Jim Renacci.

The incumbents carried both races.

U.S. House District 10

Districtwide, Turner took 153,640 (56 percent) of the vote, while Gasper took  114,699 (42 percent). Libertarian candidate David A Harlow  got 15,140 votes (2 percent).

In Greene County, Turner got 42,792 (64 percent) votes to Gasper’s 22,415 (34 percent). Harlow got 1,415 (2 percent). In Yellow Springs proper, the percentage difference was 90 percent for Gasper and 10 percent for Turner.

Locally, the breakdown was:

Precinct 440: Turner 65; Gasper, 599; Harlow, 8.

Precinct 441: Turner 51; Gasper, 440; Harlow, 5.

Precinct 442: Turner 38; Gasper, 499; Harlow, 5.

Precinct 443: Turner 64; Gasper, 531; Harlow, 11.

Precinct 455: Turner 210; Gasper, 137; Harlow, 6.

Precinct 456: Turner 144; Gasper, 254; Harlow, 3.

U.S. Senate

In the U.S. Senate race, the statewide numbers were 2,286,730 (53 percent) for Brown and 2,011,832 (47 percent) for Renacci.

Greene County voters, however, favored the Republican challenger, with 37,110 (56 percent) votes for Renacci and 29,169 (44 percent) for Brown.

The local breakdown favored Brown, except in township precinct 455.

Precinct 440: Brown, 621; Renacci, 47.

Precinct 441: Brown, 462; Renacci, 38.

Precinct 442: Brown, 513; Renacci, 32.

Precinct 443: Brown, 559; Renacci, 49

Precinct 455: Brown, 153; Renacci, 195.

Precinct 456: Brown, 271; Renacci, 128.

Ohio governor’s race, Issue I

While Yellow Springs native son Mike DeWine (Yellow Spring High School class of 1965) won the statewide race for governor, he took a beating in Yellow Springs.

Statewide, the race saw 2,187,619 votes (51 percent) go to Republican DeWine,  2,005,627 votes (46 percent) to Democrat Richard Cordray, 77,184 (2 percent) to Libertarian Travis M. Irvine and 47,664 (1 percent) to Green Party candidate Constance Gadwell-Newton.

In Greene County, the governor’s race results saw DeWine with 41,068 (61.43 percent), Cordray with 23,664 (35.4 percent), Irvine with 1,437 (2.15 percent) and Gadwell-Newton with 648 (less than percent),

Locally, 88 percent of village voters cast their ballots for Cordray.

Precinct 440: DeWine, 70; Cordray, 585.

Precinct 441: DeWine, 52; Cordray, 435.

Precinct 442: DeWine, 44; Cordray, 491.

Precinct 443: DeWine, 70; Cordray, 527.

Precinct 455: DeWine, 223; Cordray, 127.

Precinct 456: DeWine, 145; Cordray, 250.

In electing the state’s attorney general as their new governor, Ohio voters also soundly defeated a proposed state constitutional amendment that would have reduced charges and penalties for nonviolent drug offenders in favor of treatment. County voters mirrored the state. DeWine opposed the measure. Local voters, however, largely favored it.

According to the Ohio secretary of state’s office, the final unofficial results statewide were 1,568,347 (37 percent) in favor and 2,716,958 (63 percent) against. Greene County percentages divided 36 percent for and 64 percent against. 

Although the ballot initiative began as a nonpartisan response to consequences of the opioid epidemic — particularly the human and economic costs of overburdened courts and overcrowded prisons — many law enforcement agencies had come out against the measure.

Proponents saw the effort as a more humane way to address opioid addiction, with treatment favored over imprisonment, but opponents thought it would make prosecuting drug dealers more difficult, while not effectively providing funding for the drug treatment it promoted.

Despite the loss, backers have claimed success in starting an important conversation about  how best to respond to the consequences of opioid addiction.

Local and township voters favored the amendment 74 percent to 26 percent.

Precinct 440: No, 114; Yes, 558.

Precinct 441: No, 91; Yes, 407.

Precinct 442: No, 71; Yes, 476.

Precinct 443: No, 120; Yes, 485.

Precinct 455: No, 232; Yes, 125.

Precinct 456: No, 159; Yes, 242.

County commission, clerk of courts

With the spring primary defeat of County Commissioner Alan Anderson, the three-person county board would get a new member regardless of who won Tuesday’s vote.

 Voters chose the Republican candidate, Dick Gould, over Democrat Susan Lopez.

Gould, county treasurer for the past eight years, took 63 percent of the county vote, to 37 percent for Lopez, a program manager of a family resource center in Bellbrook.

Locally, including the township, the percentages were 81 percent in favor of Lopez and 19 percent for Gould.

Precinct 440: Gould, 61; Lopez, 607.

Precinct 441: Gould, 50; Lopez, 443.

Precinct 442: Gould, 35; Lopez, 502.

Precinct 443: Gould, 67; Lopez, 537.

Precinct 455: Gould, 218; Lopez, 134.

Precinct 456: Gould, 145; Lopez, 254.

No matter who won the race for Greene County Clerk of Courts, Yellow Springs would have a local representative, as both candidate Republican incumbent AJ Williams and Democratic challenger Cyndi Pauwels live in the village.

Countywide, Williams won handily, with 40,846  votes (63 percent) to  24,232 votes (37 percent) for Pauwels.

Williams, formerly of the county auditor’s office, was appointed to the court clerk’s position after the retirement in December of longtime Clerk of Courts Terri Mazur. 

Reached last week after the results were tabulated, Williams said he was grateful to be able to continue serving as county courts clerk.

He said he was especially happy to be able to get back to work without needing to run a campaign at the same time. First, however, he said he was going to spend a couple days at a cabin in Hocking Hills. 

The local vote breakdown, including township precincts, was 81 percent for Pauwels and 19 percent for Williams.

Precinct 440: Williams, 60; Pauwels, 606.

Precinct 441: Williams, 49; Pauwels, 443.

Precinct 442: Williams, 43; Pauwels,492.

Precinct 443: Williams, 63; Pauwels, 540.

Precinct 455: Williams, 212; Pauwels, 134.

Precinct 456: Williams, 139; Pauwels, 258.

YS Schools renewal levy

In the week following the Nov. 6 election, Yellow Springs Schools district leaders expressed their gratitude that voters overwhelmingly approved the renewal of a five-year, 1.2-mill permanent improvement levy.

According to the Greene County Board of Elections, the final unofficial vote tally was 2,050 in favor (76 percent) to 652 (24 percent) against.

“We want to thank everyone who supported this necessary levy,” School board President Aida Merhemic said during the board’s regular meeting Thursday evening, Nov. 8.

The levy, originally introduced in 2008 and last renewed in 2013, raises about $138,000 a year for capital expenditures, such as building repairs and major purchases. Being a renewal, the measure will not raise taxes. 

The renewal passed easily in all six local precincts.

Precinct 440: Yes, 493; No, 170.

Precinct 441: Yes, 364; No, 125.

Precinct 442: Yes, 420; No, 112.

Precinct 443: Yes, 495; No, 104.

Precinct 455: Yes, 32; No, 5.

Precinct 456: Yes, 243; No, 134.

Countywide levy requests

One new and four renewal levy requests, all countywide measures, also appeared on the Nov. 6 ballot. Local voters joined with county residents in approving all five issues.

• The Greene County Career Center sought a 20-year, 1.03-mill bond to raise $62 million to construct a new $80 million building.

Countywide: for the bond, 35,555 (55 percent); against, 29,252 (45 percent).

Precinct 440: For, 417; Against, 606.

Precinct 441: For, 309; Against, 606.

Precinct 442: For, 339; Against, 606.

Precinct 443: For, 395; Against, 606.

Precinct 455: For, 172; Against, 606.

Precinct 456: For, 226; Against, 606.

• Greene Memorial Hospital requested a five-year, 0.5-mill renewal levy.

Countywide: for the levy: 40,775 (62 percent);  against: 24,966 (38 percent).

Precinct 440: For, 534; Against, 128.

Precinct 441: For, 374; Against, 111.

Precinct 442: For, 431; Against, 108.

Precinct 443: For, 486; Against, 109.

Precinct 455: For, 231 Against, 119.

Precinct 456: For, 275; Against, 118.

• Greene County Children Services sought a five-year, 1.5-mill renewal levy.

Countywide: for the levy, 48,641 (74 percent); against: 17,198 (26 percent).

Precinct 440: For, 593; Against, 63.

Precinct 441: For, 416; Against, 69.

Precinct 442: For, 479; Against, 57.

Precinct 443: For, 546; Against, 51.

Precinct 455: For, 260; Against, 89.

Precinct 456: For, 314; Against, 79.

• Greene County Council on Aging asked for a five-year, 1.4 renewal levy.

Countywide: for the levy, 49,699 (75 percent); against: 16,171 (25 percent).

Precinct 440: For, 607; Against, 54.

Precinct 441: For, 429; Against, 62.

Precinct 442: For, 488; Against, 46.

Precinct 443: For, 548; Against, 51.

Precinct 455: For; 268; Against, 81.

Precinct 456: For, 321; Against, 75.

• Greene County Developmental Disabilities asked for a five-year, 3.5-mill renewal levy.

Countywide: for the levy, 44,191 (67 percent); against: 21,358 (33 percent).

Precinct 440: For, 556; Against, 99.

Precinct 441: For, 402; Against, 84.

Precinct 442: For, 462; Against, 65.

Precinct 443: For, 525; Against, 71.

Precinct 455: For, 241; Against, 103.

Precinct 456: For, 290; Against, 104.

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