Recount still possible in race for Columbus City Council
The 1,133-vote margin between Paley and Ferris is currently not small enough to trigger a recount. However, a recount would be conducted if Ferris closed that margin to 847 votes or fewer after provisional ballots were counted, Franklin County Board of Elections director Michael Stinziano said Wednesday.
About 5,000 provisional ballots will be counted 10 days after the election, Stinziano said.
A recount is far from a sure thing because "provisional voting has been more historically Democratic voters," Stinziano said. "But it's in the realm of possibilities."
Paley's victory would mean Democrats would continue to hold all seven council seats. A. Troy Miller and Priscilla Tyson also held onto their seats Tuesday, according to final but unofficial results from the board of elections.
Ferris was the best-financed of all the candidates, having raised $100,000. The Franklin County Republican Party gave him a last-minute cash infusion of $20,000.
Either way, Ferris wasn't holding out much hope. He said he knew he was an underdog in the race but was "proud" of his campaign.
"Close is good, but it wasn't what we were hoping for," he said Tuesday night. "As tired as I am right now I am very energized by the people who came out and voted.
"We gave them a run for their money," he added. "I'm not going anywhere."
Tyson, who was appointed and later elected to council in 2007, received the most votes, followed by Miller and Paley. Republicans Ferris, Alicia Healy and Roseann Hicks and write-in candidate Joe Motil rounded out the field.
Throughout the campaign, opposition candidates chided the incumbents and Mayor Michael B. Coleman, also a Democrat, for what they saw as fiscal mismanagement. The city requested, and voters approved in August, an increase in the income tax from 2 percent to 2.5 percent. They blasted council members for canceling curbside yard-waste removal and making residents pay for the service. Incumbents, though, countered that the income-tax increase was necessary to maintain public-safety levels. Cuts in other areas, while painful, were necessary to stave off a $100-million shortfall, they said.
In 1999, Jennette Bradley was the last Republican elected to council. She left in 2002 to serve as Ohio's lieutenant governor.
Doug Preisse, chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party, said the loss was disappointing but "every Republican starts as an underdog in the city of Columbus.
"This is a typical major American metropolitan area," he said Tuesday night. "It's a Democratic core city. We'll continue to try. And we won something tonight: We won the opportunity to showcase the leader of today and the future."