Wednesday, March 07, 2012

First Post-Election Day Thoughts

I have learned it is usually wise to wait for the full election results before essaying any opinions about why voters did what they did, but here are some quick hits, as some people have requested:

1. Former judge Timothy McGinty’s decisive victory should not persuade him that he has a mandate to rush forward with his desired reforms, since over half of those who voted preferred somebody else. While his advantages in name recognition and campaign cash proved insurmountable in helping him carry the day, some of his post-election comments suggest that he underestimates the need to change not just the department’s bureaucratic practices but also a deeply ingrained culture that is hostile to much of the community it is sworn to serve. The new county government in particular should be keen to observe how a McGinty administration takes root, as the forthcoming county reform commission mandated by the new charter should at least consider whether the prosecutor’s office should be an appointed position.

2. Former assistant county prosecutor Stephanie Hall came in a surprising second in the race. This is a remarkable feat given that she entered the race last, was a first-time candidate, had the least name recognition, as well as the smallest and least experienced campaign team.

3. Downstate in Columbus, former Ohio House member Joyce Beatty won a tight Democratic primary victory in a four-way race for the new Third Congressional District. Her victory means that for the first time Ohio will have two black members of Congress at the same time.

A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch describes the Third District, which includes about 80% of the residents of Columbus, as unique:

It has a 30 percent African-American population — second highest among Ohio’s 16 congressional districts. Encompassing Ohio State University, the 3rd is believed to have the largest population of college students of any district in the nation outside of Boston. And it probably includes the largest population of gay citizens in Ohio.
It also is one of the poorer districts in Ohio. Of the three districts that include portions of Franklin County, along with the 12th and 15th, the 3rd has an average household income at least $25,000 below the level in the other two districts, and an average home value at least $82,000 less than homes in the 12th and 15th.

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