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Primary sets stage for November election

9/12/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Collins and Kathleen Folkerth

Plus, Independents file for General Election

SUMMIT COUNTY — Akron area residents weighed in on Democratic and Republican candidates in the Sept. 10 Primary Election in the few races that were contested at the party level.

There were six races for Akron City Council seats on the Democrats’ side, while Republicans had just one. Some voters in the West Side Leader’s coverage area also voted for Barberton Municipal Court clerk.

According to the Summit County Board of Elections (BOE), voter turnout was about 8 percent. Of the votes cast, Democrats cast 86 percent, Republicans cast 13 percent, and less than one-half of a percent were nonpartisan. As of presstime, the BOE had yet to certify the results.

Akron City Council at-large seats

For the Democrats, incumbent at-large Council members Mike Williams, Linda Omobien and Jeff Fusco earned enough votes to head to the General Election. Councilman Bruce Kilby (D-Ward 2) came in fourth place, which means that due to redistricting, he will not be on Council at the start of the next term. Kilby’s ward was redistricted, and he opted not to run in the new Ward 2 against current Councilman James Hurley (D-Ward 1), who was unopposed in the Primary. Since no Republican filed, Hurley won the Ward 2 seat.

Williams was the top vote-getter with 31 percent of the vote, followed by Omobien with 28 percent and Fusco with 26 percent. Kilby received 15 percent of the vote.

The incumbents will face three of the four Republicans who ran in the Primary. Victorious this week were Christine Kormushoff, with 28 percent, and Linda Robinson and Karl Johnson, both with about 25 percent of the vote. The fourth candidate, Charly Murphy, received 22 percent.

Akron City Council ward races

The Primary was the first race for the city’s newly drawn wards, which took place after the latest U.S. Census results.

In Ward 1, which includes most of Highland Square, the changes opened up the opportunity for a new member of Council. Five Democrats entered the race, and Rich Swirsky was the winner with 46 percent. His opponents were Robin Green, with 20 percent; Chuck Heimbaugh, with 18 percent; Derrick Hall, with 9 percent; and John Bryan, with 7 percent.

Swirsky will face Republican Anthony Karam in November, who ran unopposed in the Primary.

In Ward 3, Democratic incumbent Margo Sommerville was the winner her first time on the ballot, earning 69 percent of the vote. She was appointed to the seat earlier this year after her father, longtime Ward 3 Councilman Marco Sommerville, resigned to become the city’s director of planning.

Also running were Nyere McGuire, who received 16 percent of the vote, and Anthony Brown, who received 15 percent.

Margo Sommerville said she enjoyed taking part in the election.

“The thing I enjoyed the most was being out in the community and knocking on doors and meeting residents,” she said. “One of the things is I didn’t want to rely on the name Sommerville. So we got out there and worked really hard.”

While there is no Republican challenger in the General Election race, Valerie Miller-Edgerson filed as an Independent candidate and will face Margo Sommerville in November.

“We’re just going to continue the campaign,” Margo Sommerville said. “We’re going to focus on engaging residents and working to create safer neighborhoods, create more jobs and continue the process.”

In Akron’s Ward 4, Democratic incumbent Russel Neal Jr. won the three-way race with 44 percent of the vote. His challengers were Eugene Norris, with 29 percent, and DeAndre Forney, with 27 percent.

“The community understands the work that we’ve done together and the foundation we’ve made and the building blocks in place for us to have a strong community,” Neal said on election night. “Education, crime, housing — the community is engaged in the process. They help get that message across to others. I’m thankful that the community believed in what we’ve started, and I look forward to helping to build a stronger community.”

Neal will face Valerie Jackson, an Independent who filed by the Sept. 9 deadline, in November. There is no Republican candidate.

For the Ward 8 seat, Democrat incumbent Marilyn Keith was unopposed in the Primary and will face challenger Republican Gary Hagen, who also was unopposed, in November.

Barberton Municipal Court clerk

In the Democratic Primary for Barberton Municipal Court clerk, state Rep. Zack Milkovich (D-District 37) defeated Jon Poda, a former at-large representative on Summit County Council, with 60 percent of the vote.

Milkovich will face incumbent Republican Diana Stevenson, who soundly defeated Larry Ashbaugh with 81 percent of the vote, in November. Stevenson was appointed clerk in January 2012.

The court serves the communities of Barberton, Clinton, Copley, Coventry, Green, New Franklin and Norton.

Other election news

In other election news, Sept. 9 was the BOE’s deadline for Independent candidates for the November election. According to the BOE, besides Miller-Edgerson and Jackson, candidates also filed for Akron Municipal Court judge.

With longtime Akron Municipal Court Judge John Holcomb not filing for re-election, Julie Schafer, a current member of the Copley-Fairlawn City Schools Board of Education, and Gertrude Wilms, chief city prosecutor for the city of Akron, will vie for the seat. Holcomb, 64, has served on Akron Municipal Court since 1996.

Incumbent Judge Katarina Cook will face Jon Oldham, a magistrate/judicial attorney for Summit County Probate Court, this November.

Also filing as an Independent candidate was Stephen Dabney for Cuyahoga Falls mayor. He will face Republican incumbent Don Robart and Democrat Donald Walters, the current Ward 6 representative on Cuyahoga Falls City Council, in November. Robart and Walters were unopposed in the Primary.

Jacob Fradette filed as an Independent for the Cuyahoga Falls City Council at-large race. For the two at-large seats up for election, Fradette will face Republican incumbents Jeff Iula and Carol Ann Klinger in November. They were unopposed in the Primary. No Democrat filed for the race.

The BOE had yet to certify the Independent candidates by presstime.

For a complete list of candidates and results, visit www.summitcountyboe.com.

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