Jeff Cramerding: The Charter Committee’s former executive director now has his own political consulting business, and it’s scored some home runs right out of the gate. As the adviser on the successful “No on 9” campaign, which prevented putting more restrictions on local rail-related funding, and on the reelection bid of Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Bortz, Cramerding already has some impressive credentials to put on his resume. We’re betting Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper brings him on board for his campaign to become Ohio auditor next year. He’s sure come a long way since managing Christopher Smitherman’s first campaign for City Council way back in 2003. (Something tells me that one will be stricken from Cramerding’s resume.)
The Enquirer: Now that the election is mercifully over, we must pause to reflect on The Cincinnati Enquirer’s hodge-podge of endorsements for City Council. The paper’s slate included two Democrats, three Republicans, two Charterites, one Charter-Democrat and one independent.
The candidates’ views fell all over the spectrum, and two (we’ll be kind and not identify them) barely said anything substantive in their campaigns, making them either cagey or stupid. The topper, though, was endorsing the Rev. Charlie Winburn and calling him “an innovative, high-energy charmer who delves into issues with exhaustive research.” Oh, that’s rich. This reminds us of Amy Poehler’s old bit on Saturday Night Live, “You endorsed Charlie Winburn? Huh. Really? The exorcist guy? REALLY? C’mon!”
Greg Harris: Although the Price Hill Democrat finished in 10th place last week and missed a return to City Council by about 3,400 votes, we commend Harris for staying true to his principles in a campaign filled with rhetoric, fearmongering and petty, small-minded attacks (See: Kuhl, Mary). He provided the fifth vote for Mayor Mark Mallory on tough budget issues. In years past, he accepted the unenviable task of running against Republican Congressman Steve Chabot, long before the 2006 turnaround year for Dems. Let’s hope Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke remembers Harris’ loyal service over the years when an appropriate opportunity arises, instead of bending over backwards to lure a corporate candidate who has pals with deep pockets.
At-Large Elections: If you think Cincinnati’s system for electing City Council members isn’t dysfunctional, one look at this year’s results should cure you of that delusion. Two center-left Democrats finished at the top, followed by five conservatives or right-leaning candidates, followed by two left-leaning candidates. The results are all over the board not just in terms of partisanship, but also on where candidates stand on the issues. Other than top finisher Roxanne Qualls, none of the winners received more than eight percent of the vote and many got far less. At-large, citywide balloting tends to dilute votes and favor incumbents, leading to mediocre candidates winning time and again. Perhaps we need a serious look at switching to an either partial or total use of district elections.
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