PORTSMOUTH -The results from Tuesday’s 3rd Ward primary answered one question, but left one unanswered.
What is known at this point is that Andy Cole will be moving on to the November General Election. He took 143 of the 290 tallied votes, good for nearly half of the votes.
“Thank you (so) much for all your help,” he said in a Facebook post after the results were released from the Scioto County Board of Elections just before 9 p.m. on Tuesday. “It is a long road to the November election but I really appreciate everyone putting their trust in me.”
Looking towards the future, Cole spoke with the Daily Times as to his vision for the next six months or so.
“The people that got out and voted are people that are truly concerned about this council,” he said in a Wednesday interview. “I’m grateful for my family, grateful for my friends, grateful for my neighbors that got and voted. In a political way, they let Portsmouth know why vote. We’re going to push forward, we’re going to make sure our voices are heard.”
With the top two candidates advancing, Gary Jenkins currently holds that position over Jerry Skiver with 76 votes compared to 71. Ten outstanding ballots however have not been returned said SCBOE Director Julia Gearheart, which will be counted as long postmarked prior to May 4.
Skiver said the results showed Cole to be in-front rather substantially, while he and Jenkins had more or less split the difference. He’s prepared either or with what the remaining votes find.
“If I don’t get enough votes to go ahead to the fall, then so be it that would be it,” the former teacher said on Wednesday. “It’s the way politics goes…the numbers don’t lie.”
Whether those ten return at all is another unknown, but Jenkins said he does not expect all to return. He will not declare victory until the official tally on May 18, the word he used to describe his feeling the day after was “hopeful.”
“In the unlikely event that we don’t make it through, I am overwhelmingly grateful for the number of people that supported me, voted for me, donated money to my campaign,” he said, a senior at Portsmouth West High School. “It was a lot of hard work and I have to thank my family and supporters for every thing they did to get us to get to that point.
Expecting a low turnout, measured currently at 13.2%, Jenkins still expected better. It was better than the 2019 primary turnout for the Scioto County Career Technical Center levy of 2.5%, but about 30 less voters than the 2017 3rd Ward primary.
“I had 100 yard signs in residential yards within my ward and we didn’t even have 100 people come out and vote for me,” he said. “I don’t think it’s because they didn’t support me, I just think people forgot.”
Along with preparing for the Labor Day parade and getting more signs out in the public, Jenkins plans on really hitting home the important dates for the election so his supporters know when and where to vote.
If the math works in his favor, Skiver said he wants to make his campaign more active heading to the next election, doing such things as participating in the parade.
“I did not know to what extent the other candidates would be involved, so I’ll get more involved if I’m given the opportunity to be the ballot,” he said. “If I’m not one of the candidates, I’ll make sure the other candidates know how I feel about certain issues. One of the two will be representing the 3rd Ward, so it wouldn’t be any different from calling my current councilperson to let them know about issues.”
In case of a tie, Ohio Revised Code Section 3505.33 says it “shall be resolved by lot by the chairman of the board in the presence of a majority of the members of the board,” and done in writing with signatures from the board of elections members.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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