A contentious five-way race for two seats on the Liberty Township board of trustees ended in victory for Shyra Eichhorn and Tom Mitchell on Election Day.
Mitchell and Eichhorn, who supported one another’s campaigns, were separated by just 14 votes, according to unofficial results from the Delaware County Board of Elections.
Mitchell received 2,286 votes and Eichhorn took 2,272 votes – each about 25 percent of the total votes cast.
Candidate Vince Margello wasn’t far behind the trustees-elect. He received 2,026 votes (22 percent).
Peggy Guzzo received 1,746 votes (19 percent) and John Hartman finished with 882 votes (10 percent).
The Nov. 5 election marked the second consecutive loss for both Guzzo – a former trustee and former Powell City Council member who ran for township fiscal officer in 2011 – and for Hartman, who ran for Delaware County commissioner in 2012.
The candidates were vying for two seats that currently belong to trustees Curt Sybert and Mary Carducci, who chose not to run for re-election.
“I think everyone went into (Election Day) knowing it was going to be close,” Eichhorn said. “ ... Not only was I so excited and I was just so overjoyed (about the results) but also seeing Tom Mitchell and I win together – it couldn’t have been a more perfect night.”
Eichhorn said she won’t wait until she is sworn in at the first board meeting of 2014 to hit the ground running. She already has plans to increase community awareness and outreach, build a better relationship with Powell and take a proactive approach to development.
“We’ve got a lot ahead of us and I’m extremely excited to work with Trustee Melanie Leneghan and really look at what we can accomplish in the next couple of years,” she said.
Eichhorn, 40, is a marketing and business-development consultant for Accel inc. and TaDa Licensing, as well as an event planner for the Ohio chapter of the Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association.
She and her husband, Kenneth, have been township residents for 14 years. They have three children who attend Olentangy schools.
Mitchell said while he’s excited to take on the new role, he’s also not going to relish the victory for too long.
“I’m glad that all my hard work paid off and my message really reached people and they understood what I was about and voted for someone who is going to move this township forward,” said Mitchell, who toasted his win with his wife and parents.
“It’s a very exciting moment, obviously, but it comes with great responsibility, and I’m already thinking about how to complete everything I said I’m going to do.”
He said he will, as promised, be committed to building a strategic plan, mending the relationship with Powell and moving the township’s development in a positive direction.
“We have a few trustees coming in that have shown that they are going to do the work,” Mitchell said. “(Eichhorn and I) worked our backs off on the campaign and that’s not going to stop. I think the community won tonight.”
Mitchell, 43, is a member of OSU’s Faculty Committee on Admissions, College Academic Affairs Committee and the Board of Regents Biotechnology Credit Alignment initiative.
He and his wife, Ellen, have been township residents for six years and have two sons who attend St. Charles Preparatory School in Columbus.