The Reynoldsburg City Council race was neck-and-neck at times on election night, with incumbent Barth Cotner receiving the most votes in Franklin County and newcomers Kristin Bryant and Kelly Cruse moving up steadily until they appeared to edge incumbent Chris Long out of his seat.
Newcomer Stacie Baker got the lion’s share of votes in Licking County, however, which could put him a few votes ahead of Cruse, making the race for three seats on City Council too close to call by 11 p.m. Nov. 7.
With 99 percent of Franklin County precincts reporting, Cotner received 2,354 votes or 18 percent; Bryant was at 2,246 votes or 17 percent; Cruse at 2,204 votes or 16 percent; Long at 2,195 votes, 16 percent and Baker at 2,171 votes, also at 16 percent, according to unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Candidate Aaron DeLong received 2,038 votes, or 15 percent of the Franklin County totals.
In Fairfield County, unofficial results showed Long receiving 43 votes for 19.46 percent and Cotner and Delong each earning 41 votes for 18.55 percent. Baker received 30 votes, or 13.57 percent; Bryant garnered 32 votes, 14.48 percent; and Cruse received 34 votes, or 15.38 percent.
Final unofficial results in Licking County had Bryant with the most votes, at 929, or 19.63 percent; Baker next at 887, or 18.74 percent; Cruse at 850, or 17.96 percent; Cotner at 755 for 15.95 percent; DeLong at 669 for 14.13 percent and Long at 643 votes, or 13.59 percent.
Cotner, 45, a funeral director, was appointed to City Council in January 2009.
He said the city’s safety and security forces should be increased and supported.
“We must also work closely with all members of the community to develop a master plan for development,” he said.
“I am always focused on the best interests of our city and not on any political agenda,” he said. “I am deeply invested into our community and I want to be part of the continual change and development we face.”
Democrat Kristin Bryant, 47, is an attorney and small-business owner. She said economic development is a “grave concern” in Reynoldsburg.
“We need to reach out to those in the private sector and seek private-public partnerships to help redevelop our city into the thriving economy I know we can have, so we can restore our income tax revenue base, then possibly discuss a future reduction of the income tax rate once we achieve that goal.”
Democrat Kelly Kruse, 42, is an insurance agent and business consultant. She said the tax levy would help “in the short term, but cannot be seen as a complete fix.”
“We need to bring new business into the city and stimulate our economy,” she said. “Reynoldsburg’s leaders must possess the ability and determination to bring in new business or we will be back in the same situation in a few years. We must actively explore possibilities to entice new businesses to become a part of our community.”
Stacie A. Baker, 35, is a Democrat and policy consultant.
“I want to help bring strong leadership and new ideals that will help move this city forward toward a brighter future,” he said. “I will work to keep our neighborhoods safe and fight for the necessary infrastructure and economic development that will strengthen our community, in addition to making sure all our tax dollars are being spent responsibly.”
Incumbent Republican Chris Long, 59, director of client satisfaction, was seeking his third term on City Council.