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Voters Send Ginther, Scott To November Ballot

Fewer than 10 percent of eligible Columbus voters cast ballots in Tuesday Mayoral primary. But the results count just the same. A sheriff and a council president are headed for a November face-off.

City Council president Andrew Ginther entered the primary race with financial means and the coveted endorsement of outgoing mayor Michael Coleman. Tuesday, Ginther easily outdistanced his three opponents, capturing 52 percent of the total vote.    

“What a night!” Ginther exclaimed. “I thought it was fitting that we would gather tonight to celebrate in the building where we started it all just a couple of months ago.”

The celebration will be short lived as attention now turns to the November election where Ginther faces democratic challenger Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott.

And Ginther said the focus of the race is about, “Families and neighborhoods. It’s what it’s all about.”

Ginther’s opponents criticize him for putting too much emphasis on downtown redevelopment instead of poorer, outlying neighborhoods.

And in the coming months, Ginther likely will have to defend investments the city has made to neighborhoods under his leadership as council president.

“Downtown is important, but it has never been at the expense of neighborhoods, and it never will be.”

Police community relations will also be an issue between now and November. The local police union already has endorsed Sheriff Scott.

At Michael's Goody Diner in the Short North, Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott lamented the low voter turn-out as he thanked his staff and supporters. Unofficial results show he has a only slim lead over republican Terry Boyd for the second spot on the November ballot. Scott said the open four way primary confused some voters.

"We heard a lot of people worried about doing a primary because you’re going to change your affiliation, you're going to do all this kind of stuff," he said. "And I guess the idea of saying that it was a non-partisan race wasn't resonating enough for people to actually get involved.

Scott faces an uphill battle in the general election. Ginther out-polled him by a 52 percent to 18 percent margin.

"I think just the fact you've only got two people in the race all of a sudden it's going to narrow itself just by the choices you have," Scott said. 

If the unofficial tallies stand, the results of Tuesday's primary means Columbus voters will have to choose between two democrats in the November race. No republican will be on the ballot. The winner in November will take office in January of next year.