Early symptoms of election fever setting in



From a local special election that has been questioned for its cost to taxpayers, the introduction of a full slate of candidates for local offices to the first debate of the 2016 presidential election cycle, this week has been a flurry of election-related activity that has reawakened the political junkie in me from a three-year slumber.

Special election

At the local level, probably the most whispered about issue this week was the approximately $35,000 spent to put on Tuesday’s special election to pass a 0.25-mill levy for the Logan County Historical Society.

With only 1,053 voters, or a measly 3.6 percent of Logan County’s total registered voters, the election cost more than $33 per voter to put on. 

The August election was called because paperwork filed by the historical society to place the levy on the May ballot was submitted to the Logan County Commissioners’ Office in a timely fashion, but did not make it from that office to the Logan County Board of Elections in time to meet the February deadline.

What’s important to keep in mind with this snafu, however, is that although May was set aside as a primary election, there were no contested primary races and, other than a Ridgemont School District overlap issue in northeastern Logan County, there were no issues to help shoulder the cost of a countywide election.

That means a May vote would have cost nearly the same amount as this week’s; but it probably wouldn’t have garnered the attention.

Of course, the historical society could have waited until November when voters in every municipality and village in Logan County will be called to elect their local leaders, but that would have put their backs against the wall if the levy failed and they were left without their primary funding source to start 2016.

As it turns out, the few people who voted passed the levy by a 2-1 margin.

Possibly, the historical society could have run the first attempt last November and then had some leeway to pay the cost of a special election only if it failed in its first attempt.

As the keeper of local history, it may be a lesson to bear in mind so history does not repeat itself five or 10 years down the line.

Local races

In other local election related issues, several villages will have an opportunity in November to weigh in on their leaders or see changes in those who lead, including all three of the primary villages I cover.

In both Belle Center and Rushsylvania, the current one-term mayors, Rhonda Fulmer and Phillip Wright, respectively, have opted not to file petitions, while their predecessors, Teresa Johnston and Katrina Eversole, have done so. Meanwhile in West Mansfield, the first-term incumbent Scott Robinson is facing a challenge from village zoning officer  Kim Kerns.

Interesting races are also shaping up around Indian Lake as first-term Russells Point Mayor Robin Reames faces the mayor she unseated four years ago, Greg Iiams. In Lakeview, longtime village Mayor Ryan Shoffstall is being opposed by current councilman and former police chief Eric Barhorst. 

It should certainly make for an interesting dynamic in those villages as the remainder of the year plays out.

The debate

The final highlight of this week’s political scene came for me during the Republican Party presidential debate. I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure if I was going to watch it, but a call from local party member Joe Antram got me interested enough to set up my DVR so I could watch it at my convenience.

While setting up the recording, however, I was surprised to catch a few segments of the pre-debate featuring the seven lower polling candidates. I found the perspective of the party’s lone female candidate Carly Fiorina to be quite noteworthy — more appealing to an independent voter like myself than at least half of the white male candidates who appeared on the main stage later Thursday evening. 

As an independent voter, I also found Ohio’s own Gov. John Kasich’s economy-first and softer more humanistic approach to the social issues to be much more appealing than most of the other candidates.

But I was also quite impressed with the common sense approach of neurosurgeon Ben Carson. And I even liked Marco Rubio and his rise from humble beginnings.

Of course, the $10 billion Trump card cannot go without comment. Donald Trump’s certainly an egotistical blowhard and the derogatory comments he has made in reference to women as pointed out by the only female moderator, Megan Kelly, severely hurt his chances of being the right person to represent half of America’s population.

But like him or not, Trump has something real. And as Ms. Fiorina pointed out, “I think he’s tapped into an anger that people feel. They’re sick of politics as usual.”

It’s very true.

While the election season can be an entertaining parade of personalities, real leadership means real world economic, foreign affairs and other meaningful policies that are appealing to an America that is truly a melting pot of cultures and personalities.

Reuben Mees is an Examiner staff writer and political junkie. He can be reached at rjmees@examiner.org