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November 6, 2009
Eight out candidates win in Ohio cities
State now has more openly gay and lesbians officials than ever before
Of a dozen openly gay or lesbian candidates in Ohio elections this week, eight have won, giving the state more out elected officials than it has ever had before.
All of the candidates sought seats on city councils or school boards. Three newcomers were elected, while five more will keep their offices. A sixth incumbent lost her bid for re-election.
In Cuyahoga County, Nickie Antonio of Lakewood and Mark Tumeo of Cleveland Heights were both re-elected to their city councils on November 3.
Tumeo edged out the next-closest vote-getters, Mary Dunbar and Jason S. Stein, to keep his seat. Four council seats were up for election. Tumeo, along with fellow incumbents Bonnie Caplan and Edward Kelley, will join newcomer Cheryl Stephens in those positions.
In Lakewood, incumbent Antonio was the top vote-getter for three at-large council seats. She will join Brian Powers and Monique Smith on the council. Ryan Patrick Demro, another incumbent who has been accused of being anti-gay, came in fourth, losing his seat.
In Akron, Sandra Kurt, a founder of the Stonewall Democrats of Summit County, beat out her Republican opponent to win 57.8% of the vote for the Ward 8 city council seat. Judge Jerry Larson, who was appointed by the governor to fill a vacancy on the Akron Municipal Court, bested two opponents to take almost 48% of the vote.
Kevin Johnson won the Ward 1 seat on the Portsmouth city council, near Ohio’s southern tip, with 59% of the vote. His opponent Michael Mearan received 41%.
Carol Fey took a seat on the school board in the Columbus suburb of Bexley with 48 percent of the vote, compared to just over 42 percent for opponent Marlee Snowdon.
In Dayton, Joe Lacey was handily re-elected to the school board. With the top four vote-getters winning their seats, Lacey, first elected in 2005, came in second. All four were incumbents. Only newcomer James Weir, with the fewest votes, failed to get a seat on the board.
Eric Resnick, a long-time Gay People’s Chronicle staff reporter and a 1996 congressional candidate, was elected to the Canton school board. Resnick won 50% of the vote in a field of three, with 1,600 more votes than the nearest candidate, William Smith. Incumbent Ron Duff came in last.
Resnick ran on a platform urging that a tax levy be put on the ballot to raise funds needed for a projected shortfall in state school appropriations, arguing that the schools presented the best chance to rebuild the struggling city.
Not everyone won, however. In Medina, just south of Cleveland, Jay Smith lost his bid for an at-large council seat to Paul Rose, Sr., who took just over 61 percent of the vote.
In Thorn Township, east of Columbus in Perry County, Marci McCaulay was edged out for one of two township trustee seats. Rick Wilson led the pack by a large margin, taking 685 votes, followed by Dale Factor with 413 votes. McCaulay lost by a mere seven votes, with 406.
In Trenton, near Cincinnati in Butler County, Kyle Peavley came in fifth for the city council race. He will not be on city council this term.
Sophia Rodriguez also lost her re-election bid for Celina City Council president to Jason King, 58 to 42%. Rodriguez has held the post for two years. Celina is near the Indiana border, about 25 miles southwest of Lima.
The eight candidates that won this week will join two other out Ohio officials to give the state ten openly gay or lesbian elected officeholders when they take their seats in January. The other two are Wood County Commissioner Tim Brown, who is up for re-election next year, and Montgomery County Common Pleas Judge Mary Wiseman, whose term ends in 2011.
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