Words of Wisdom on Election Night

New deadlines dictated that, for the first time in years, CityBeat was unable to run day-after election results in the paper. We still covered Election Day and Election Night and posted interview

Nov 12, 2003 at 2:06 pm
Matt Borgerding

Charterites Christopher Smitherman (left) and Jim Tarbell were all smiles on Election Night.

New deadlines dictated that, for the first time in years, CityBeat was unable to run day-after election results in the paper. We still covered Election Day and Election Night and posted interviews and photos on the Web (see citybeat.com and click on the Election 2003 button).

Here's a quick collection of noteworthy quotes from candidates and others on Nov. 4:

· Challenger John Schlagetter, who finished 17th: "I feel we ran an honest and honorable campaign. Grassroots is the way it's supposed to be done."

· Challenger Pete Witte, who finished 15th: "We worked hard. I'm very surprised by this new council. I think it speaks volumes about who felt compelled to come out and vote."

· Challenger Christopher Smitherman, who surprised by winning a seat in his first run for office: "All the nonsense is gonna stop."

· Incumbent Jim Tarbell, pleased that he finished fourth: "I spent so little (on my campaign), between one-half and one-third of what most folks spent."

· Incumbent David Pepper, who again finished first: "I think I'll squeak out a win despite CityBeat not endorsing me."

· Adam Stovall, field director for challenger Nick Spencer, who finished a disappointing 21st: "It's really hard to win your first time out without $100,000."

· Chris Monzel, the only incumbent to lose his seat: "My campaign lacked nothing but the people to vote."

· Incumbent David Crowley, who edged out Damon Lynch III to win the ninth and final seat: "It was a close call. I would have liked to have finished higher. Damon would have been a good asset, even though I didn't want him to beat me."

· Malia Lazu, campaign manager for challenger Damon Lynch III, who finished 10th: "I think Damon's campaign has done more than any person of color's campaign to deal with the racial context of Cincinnati."

· Bernadette Watson, Mayor Charlie Luken's chief of staff: "I'm a big supporter of (David) Crowley. I want to see all the incumbents come back, except for Pat DeWine."

· Incumbent Pat DeWine, who finished sixth: "I will continue to make the city safer and deal with quality of life issues."

· Cincinnati School Board incumbent John Gilligan, who was re-elected: "If I don't win, I will take a deep breath and enjoy life."

What was the deal with all the Charles Winburn T-shirts on folks milling around the Board of Elections? Former councilman Winburn has been parked for a while in a state commission job of some sort, and the buzz is that he's anxious to get back into local politics — perhaps running against incumbent Democratic Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune in 2004.

If only the kids been allowed to vote, Republicans would be relevant in the city. The annual Kids Voting contest featured 17,000 schoolchildren casting online ballots in 20 local school districts — more than 2,700 in the city of Cincinnati. The city kids chose a city council of (in order) Alicia Reece, David Pepper, Laketa Cole, Pat DeWine, Leslie Ghiz, Barbara Trauth, Chris Monzel, John Cranley and David Crowley. That would have put four Republicans on council along with the current five Democrats and no Charterites.

Perhaps Cincinnati Public Schools should do a better job of teaching local history, particularly the colorful history of Cincinnati's official third party.

Winning and Losing
We all know election endorsements aren't the same thing as election predictions, but it's interesting to review which organizations picked the most winners on Nov. 4. The overall winner? The Cincinnati Post.

The Post's endorsed candidates and issues won 11 of the possible 14 slots (nine city council, three school board, Issue 1 (Ohio constitutional amendment) and Issue 17 (Cincinnati Zoo levy). This information is based on CityBeat's "Who's Endorsing Whom" charts published in our issue of Oct. 29-Nov. 4).

Of the remaining organizations that offered endorsements for all 14 slots, The Cincinnati Herald and The Cincinnati Enquirer got 10 correct, AFL-CIO got nine, CityBeat and the Democratic Party got eight and the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) got three. No other organization on the charts — from the Republican Party to the Cincinnati Federation of Teachers to the Sierra Club — endorsed in every race.

The Post's outcome isn't surprising given that the paper endorsed seven of the eight city council incumbents, more than any other media outlet. And The Enquirer would have tied its afternoon business partner if the pro-business daily hadn't endorsed Issue 1, which surprisingly went down to defeat despite The Enquirer's relentless and shameless front-page campaigning. The Post, The Herald and CityBeat all endorsed a no vote on Issue 1.

The fact that more than half of CityBeat's endorsements claimed victory is in itself a shock; we rarely pick winners in local elections. None of the four council challengers endorsed by CityBeat — Brian Garry, Damon Lynch III, John Schlagetter and Nick Spencer — won, although all three endorsed incumbents retained their seats.

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