SCIOTO — Mike Crabtree, who has served as a Scioto County Commissioner for 15 years, will be serving four more years on the board after defeating Democratic candidate Matt Seifert in a decisive victory Tuesday.
Of the 30,175 votes cast in this race, Crabtree went home with 20,207 and just less than 67% of the total. He added almost 1,400 from his 2016 victory over Kevin W. Johnson and almost 5,300 more than his 2012 sum in a narrow win over Donny Rachford.
On his campaign’s Facebook page, Crabtree issued the following statement:
“It’s official. Thank you, Scioto County, for reelecting me as your Scioto County Commissioner. Thank you to the many who helped us win this LONG race. Your support means the world to me. Thanks to my opponent for a hard-fought race. I wish him well. Congratulations to my fellow commissioner Cathy Coleman with her win. Teamwork gets the job done. It’s time to get back to work and continue the hard work for all of Scioto County. Thank you very much.”
At the polls, voters that were willing to be interviewed said they pledged their support to Crabtree due to his standing as a Republican candidate but also for his values and accomplishments.
“It was only because his values and just person-to-person connection,” said Homer Young, a Crabtree voter. “When you get to know someone, you always try to back them.”
While most that spoke with this reporter said they had casted their vote for Crabtree, one which supported Seifert said he liked the Democrat because of his social media approach. The “Matt Seifert for Commissioner” Facebook page posted regularly and held virtual question and answer live videos.
“He seemed to be a bit more active with his campaigning, really wanting to change some things,” said Brad Craft. “I didn’t really see too much with Crabtree, I don’t know if he actually did any campaigning.”
The race in Portsmouth, although still a win for Crabtree, was much more relatively closer as expected based on the April Primary results. Seifert’s 2,753 votes in the city’s 19 precincts were about 500 votes behind Crabtree, who would distance himself with results from townships like Bloom, Clay and Green.
In the April Primary, Crabtree received more than double Seifert’s vote total despite seeking the Republican seat against Scioto County Sheriff Marty Donini. As mentioned, the gap was much smaller in Portsmouth, Crabtree receiving 675 votes compared to 623 for Seifert.
Seifert, whose five only precinct victories came from Portsmouth, knew that it would be more challenging to amass support outside the city limits. Crabtree won the remaining 72 precincts.
“I think Covid threw a wrench in the plans that a lot of people had for this election,” said Seifert. “If I could have, I would have knocked on every door in the county twice.”
Despite the loss, Seifert said he pledged to continue his mission of bettering Scioto County.
“I think we as a community should continue to demand a certain level of transparency from our elected officials,” said Seifert. “Not just taking credit for the things that went well, but also making sure they are willing to admit when things went wrong.”
“I don’t believe I will stop in holding our elected officials accountable,” he added.
Crabtree, in a March article from the Portsmouth Daily Times, said a vote for him was a vote to move the county on to better days and to tackle issues such as Foster/Kinship care, the opioid epidemic and blighted infrastructure.
“We can’t wait for Washington or Columbus to help us. We must do more locally,” said Crabtree, adding that he and former Commissioner Doug Coleman had eliminated a $3 million deficit. “Uncovering more opportunities is a major focus of mine now and in the future.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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