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Write-in candidate Steven Wolfe wins Marysville City Council race by nine votes after recount

Steven Wolfe
Courtesy of Steven Wolfe
Steven Wolfe beat incumbent Marysville City Councilmember Aaron Carpenter in the 2023 election by just 9 votes after mounting a successful write-in campaign.

Steven Wolfe won a seat on Marysville City Council by just nine votes following a recount of the candidate's successful write-in campaign against a controversial incumbent.

Wolfe, 24, received 1,018 votes versus incumbent Aaron J. Carpenter's 1,009 votes, according to official Union County election results posted online following an official recount on Nov. 30. The race was initially in a 15 vote-margin, but the remaining provisional and overseas ballots narrowed that margin without changing the final outcome.

Wolfe ran on transparency and regulating growth in Marysville, but Carpenter also faced community criticism for attending the riot at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and denying the results of the 2020 election.

Wolfe told WOSU the race taught him that every vote counts.

"I'm just happy to finally have this be certified and ready to move forward. I've been attending the city council meetings, and, you know, just getting more information and learning more about the topics and subjects and the big things affecting Marysville and the priorities kind of moving forward," Wolfe said.

Wolfe was born and raised in Marysville and attended Davidson College where he played football. In addition to working for state Rep. Tom Young, he's interned with U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan and worked as a DoorDash driver.

Union County Board of Elections Director Brandon Clay said the recount had 100% accuracy between the hand count and what was shown on the voting machines, meaning the recount didn't change a single vote.

Wolfe ended up getting under 50% of the vote, because several of the 58 write-in ballots that weren't specifically for Wolfe were for names like Daffy Duck, Minnie Mouse and Barack Obama.

Carpenter could not be reached for comment, but Wolfe said he spoke to Carpenter in November, who offered his assistance to the council-member elect.

"(Carpenter) reached out and talked to me. We talked over Facebook and then in person at one of the city council meetings and he was very supportive and helpful. He said he would be willing to help and, you know, just kind of guide me if I need any help on what it's like being on city council," Wolfe said.

Wolfe takes office at the start of the new year and will be sworn in later this month.

Wolfe said he is ready to get started and wants to help open communication between city government and the citizens of Marysville.

"I think the biggest thing is going to be open communication about the stuff going on. There's a lot of things being brought before city council with annexation that, you know, development agreements in the uptown area and different financial issues," Wolfe said.

Wolfe said he would like to start town halls and office hours and invite citizens to attend and communicate more online through websites and social media pages about issues facing the community and legislation the city council is tackling.

George Shillcock is a reporter for 89.7 NPR News. He joined the WOSU newsroom in April 2023 following three years as a reporter in Iowa with the USA Today Network.