Congratulations to all the candidates who won races last night. Regardless of political party, public service is noble and people who subject themselves to the rigors of a campaign should be commended for putting themselves into the arena and working hard to serve the public.
We had a good night last night. Of course, there were some disappointments and that is to be expected with the number of races on the ballot. But overall there is reason for Republicans to celebrate and for us to be optimistic about the future.
I am pleased to say that for the first time in nearly a decade, the Republican Party elected three endorsed Republicans to the Cincinnati City Council. We did so during a period where the city is certainly trending against the GOP. This accomplishment can be credited to having two strong incumbents, Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel, and three great non-incumbent candidates including our newest member, Charlie Winburn. Leslie Ghiz and Chris Monzel have governed responsibly and have been taxpayer watchdogs on the council. The voters rewarded both of them by comfortably returning them to the city council.
Charlie Winburn returns to the council after a period out of politics. I am proud of Charlie Winburn. He is a dogged campaigner and fundraiser. His targeted campaign was exactly the right strategy and I am pleased that he will return to City Hall.
Our party was lucky to have George Zamary and Amy Murray on the ticket. Both Amy and George are tremendous people--and tremendous candidates. It is important to remember that Ghiz and Monzel both lost in their first campaigns for city council. I will work hard to be sure that we have not heard the last of George and Amy. They deserve the party’s special “thank you” for their campaigns and for their commitment to the city.
Our efforts also defeated appointed incumbent Democrat Greg Harris. Democratic member Laketa Cole also slid to 9th in the unofficial tally of votes. The defeat of the Democrats' hand-picked successor to Mr. Cranley and the severe slide by Ms. Cole is a real sign that the Democrats have failed the voters in the city and the voters noticed.
I am overwhelmingly proud of what we did in the Mayor's race. President Obama won election in Cincinnati with 76% of the vote. Dr. Brad Wenstrup, a person who has never before held elected office, nearly shocked the world last night. As I write today, Brad Wenstrup came to within 5500 votes of beating an incumbent city chief executive with a golden political name in a city full of Democrats. Brad Wenstrup garnered 46% of the vote by bringing together unions, disaffected African-American voters, moderates, and conservatives. His close finish demonstrates that the GOP is hardly "in the wildnerness" in the city of Cincinnati. We all now know who Brad Wenstrup is and what he is capable of doing. We have not heard the last of Brad.
In general, our strategy to field a short slate of five candidates and to run a strong candidate at the top of the ticket resulted in growing our numbers on the city council and having our two incumbents finish high in the order. By running a qualified and highly capable candidate for the high profile race of Mayor, we have a potential candidate for public office who now has the notoriety and political base to win into the future. We also have two experienced and energized new faces to the GOP in Zamary and Murray.
We also had two fine men running for the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education. The GOP has not fielded candidates in those races for a long time and it was my strong belief that we should challenge in those races. Although not successful, Chris McDowell and John Banner changed the tone and the debate in those races and this should have a positive impact on how the CPS conducts business.
All things considered, we had a very good night in the city of Cincinnati.
I am most pleased to report that we did very well in the suburban communities that are such an important piece of the Hamilton County GOP. Our successes there were overwhelming.
In Colerain Township, first-time GOP candidate Dennis Deters finished first in the balloting and joins incumbent Jeff Ritter to round out our Republican majority. The Colerain Township election was highly competitive with a well financed and highly organized Democrat challenging for the open seat being vacated by Trustee Fiedeldey. We were able to maintain our majority by adding a new face to our elected ranks in Dennis Deters.
In Green Township, Tracy Winkler and David Linnenberg won reelection easily. The newest Trustee, David Linnenberg joins Tracy Winkler as an up-and-coming candidate with unlimited potential for the GOP into the future.
In Springfield Township, a place not as friendly to Republicans as it once was, Joe Honerlaw and Tom Bryan continue our Republican majority there. Tom and Joe denied a strong Democrat challenge in a difficult place for us.
In Symmes Township, we continue to keep a Republican majority with Jodie Leis George returning to the Board of Trustees.
In Norwood, the GOP now has a majority of city council having won critical races to return Norwood to Republican governance for the first time in many years. Our strong slate of candidates in Norwood included Jane Grote, Jim Stith, Michael Gabbard, Victor Schneider, Steve Thornbury, and Donna Laake.
In Cheviot, the GOP did not lose a race.
In Blue Ash, we did not lose a race.
We did very well in Deer Park, Reading, Mt. Healthy, North College Hill, Sharonville, Greenhills, Montgomery, Madeira, Evendale, Sycamore Township and other places that I may have failed to mention here.
In the end, we had a very strong election night locally and nationally. We held on to most of our seats and made a few gains along the way.
The future of the GOP will be defined by our ability to find, recruit, retain, and promote great candidates for public office. I want to lead a Republican Party that fields the best candidates in every race. I believe we lived up to that in 2009.
Thank you to all of our volunteers, candidates, donors and supporters who made Election Night 2009 go well. Now is the time to continue the momentum and continue the GOP comeback for 2010.