One vote can make a difference.

Just ask Michael S. Weinman, whose bid to become the Clintonville Area Commission's next District 7 representative was thwarted by a single vote.

Or ask John Eschenbrenner, who will replace Jason Meek in July as a result of that same vote, which was cast in the May 5 CAC election as a sort of provisional ballot under the area commission's rules.

"To be honest with you, I didn't really expect to win," Eschenbrenner said. "I thought I was going to lose. It feels good."

Weinman said he looked into challenging the ballot cast at the Whetstone branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library by a woman who arrived without her identification, but decided against it after verifying on the Franklin County Auditor's website that she does live where she stated.

"There's no indication there's a problem with that vote," said Ann Henkener, chairwoman of the CAC elections committee.

"I'm satisfied she lives where she says she did," Weinman said.

The number of votes cast in the District 7 race -- the only contested one of the three seats up for election -- was an anemic 15. Eight of them were for Eschenbrenner and seven were for Weinman, according to unofficial totals posted by Henkener.

Dana Bagwell, who ran unopposed in seeking to reclaim her District 5 seat, received 40 votes.

Judy Minister also faced no opposition in her bid for a second term as the District 4 representative. She received 11 votes.

Eschenbrenner and Weinman both admitted to running what were, based on voter participation, low-key campaigns.

"I really didn't think the turnout would be so low," Weinman said. "What I wish I had done was turn out some mailer reminders to get some people out to vote.

"I'm definitely going to run again in two years," he said. "This time, I'll be a little bit more aggressive in terms of getting out there, not attacking my opponent or anything."

"I didn't feel like this was a political position," Eschenbrenner said. "I just thought this was going to happen organically and we'll collect the people who were influential to me running and go from there. I didn't really try to beat the streets and stress to people when they were going to consider voting or try to pressure them."

"Both of them chose not to run that kind of campaign so, so be it," Henkener said.

"I saw the vote difference and I felt like awareness of what's going on in the community is important," Eschenbrenner said. "And I did comprehend or process that, thinking, wow, this is striking."

Eschenbrenner added the people who told him they voted for him all have boasted theirs was the ballot that made the difference.

Weinman is director of governmental affairs for the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.

Eschenbrenner is a principal with the EM Engineering Group Ltd. consulting firm.

Meek, the man Eschenbrenner will replace on the CAC, opted not to seek another term.

The CAC's District 4 is located in central Clintonville, roughly from Oakland Park Avenue north to Arden and Acton roads.

District 5 is north of District 4, east of High Street to Glenmont Avenue.

District 7 stretches roughly from Glenmont north to Garden Road east of High Street.

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1