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Yes We Can Coalition Regroups After Losses Across Columbus

Yes We Can Columbus

In Tuesday’s election, every Democratic incumbent in the Columbus City Council and school board races cruised to victory.

That meant losses for every one of the five candidates affiliated with “Yes We Can” coalition, a group more-liberal Democrats affiliated with the national Working Families Party. Yes We Can candidates campaigned on issues like police-community relations and getting big money out of politics. 

In the City Council race, Jasmine Ayres and Will Petrik lost to Democrats Mitchell Brown, Shannon Hardin and Priscilla Tyson. And Erin Upchurch, Abby Vaile and Amy Harkins lost the school board race to Democrats Michael Cole, Ramona Reyes and Dominic Paretti.

Madeline Stocker, a spokesperson for the group, says that’s attributable to funding differences.

“The incumbents raised over a million dollars for this race," Stocker says. "We were outspent 10-to-1. And yet we still garnered tens of thousands of votes across the city.”

Stocker says that, though the coalition failed to get one candidate in office this year, the 2017 election has laid the groundwork for future success.

“A lot of people weren’t aware about Yes We Can," Stocker says. "We started with a pretty small team. We started with not a lot of capacity. And over the past year alone, the fact that we have now come to a place where we are the biggest—we’re the primary opposition for the Columbus partnership and biggest developers in this city, and people know that now."

Stockers says Ayres, after losing her race, intends to apply to replace City Council president Zach Klein, who will leave office to take a position as city attorney. 

Clare Roth was former All Things Considered Host for 89.7 NPR News. She joined WOSU in February of 2017. After attending the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, she returned to her native Iowa as a producer for Iowa Public Radio.