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Ousted As Franklin County Auditor, Clarence Mingo Blames Trump Backlash

Republican Clarence Mingo lost re-election last year to the position of Franklin County Auditor.
Gage Skidmore
Clarence Mingo at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland.

After two terms as Franklin County Auditor, Republican Clarence Mingo will be out of office next year.

The race wasn’t close between him and Columbus City Council member Michael Stinziano, with the Democrat winning 57 percent to Mingo’s 43 percent of the vote.

Mingo, who's African-American, says he faced an uphill climb in Franklin County, which usually leans Democratic in elections. 

"I met so many new and young voters who were simply against anything that was related to the president, meaning that if you had an R beside your name, it almost automatically meant in some cases you were out of contention, or out of consideration for earning a person’s vote,” Mingo says.

His loss comes as Republicans swept all of Ohio's non-judicial statewide offices.  

“We have the right policy on economics,” Mingo says. “We are concerned about the middle class. And these issues are relevant and meaningful to African Americans.”

Mingo initially announced his candidacy for state treasurer in 2017, but later stepped out of the race. Mingo says the political tone after the 2016 election did not suit him, and he wanted to stay focused on Franklin County.

“I’m a conservative and very proud of my conservative beliefs, but also want to spend time talking about poverty,” Mingo says. “We need to begin talking about under-employment. We need to begin talking about civility and discourse and really penetrating every constituency in the state: Black, white, Latino and otherwise.”

Mingo says today only a handful of African-American elected officials of any party hold an executive office in Ohio. These midterms did see Melody Stewart become the first African-American woman elected to the Ohio Supreme Court.

Mingo says Republicans can do better to reach out to a broader group of voters. He also says he wants to see President Trump deliver a more unifying message. 

“The party itself has to begin messaging in a stronger, in a more deliberate way that there are no barriers, there are no distinctions, that we care about people on this side of the wall, and that side of the wall, that we are concerned about the human condition,” Mingo says.

Mingo says he has not decided what he will do next. He says he wants to continue working in public service, but it may not be in an elected office.

Debbie Holmes has worked at WOSU News since 2009. She has hosted All Things Considered, since May 2021. Prior to that she was the host of Morning Edition and a reporter.