No Drama Whatsoever In County Council Elections, But Marty Sweeney Nearly Defeated by "Under" Votes

click to enlarge Martin Sweeney addresses the Lakewood Democratic Club (3/29/18), - Sam Allard / Scene
Sam Allard / Scene
Martin Sweeney addresses the Lakewood Democratic Club (3/29/18),

In the spectacularly uncompetitive races for Cuyahoga County Council seats, every incumbent who ran in the Tuesday primary was victorious.

And only Meredith Turner, the incumbent who was appointed to replace Shontel Brown in County Council's District 9 when Brown vacated her seat to run for Congress, had to deal with an opponent. 

Two, in fact. Turner secured nearly 60% of the vote and handily defeated Marcia McCoy and Patricia Young Tuesday night. With no opponents on the Republican side, Turner will be unopposed in the November general and will retain her seat.

It was the odd-numbered council districts (1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11) up for election this year, and most of the candidates who ran will coast to new terms without having to bother campaigning at all. Incumbents Nan Baker in District 1 (western suburbs) and Michael Gallagher in District 5 (southwestern suburbs) were the only Republicans to appear on the ballot Tuesday.

Gallagher will be unopposed in November. Baker will face Democrat Patrick Kelley, who ran unopposed as a Democrat in District 1.

The unopposed Democratic incumbents were Martin Sweeney in District 3 (Cleveland's west side), Yvonne Conwell in District 7 (Cleveland's east side), and Sunny Simon in District 11 (northeastern suburbs). All not only ran unopposed Tuesday but will face no Republican challengers in November.

With races like these, you'd be forgiven for thinking Cuyahoga County was in tip-top shape!  Alas.

Let the record reflect, in any case, that Marty Sweeney secured the lowest vote total of any winning candidate and the highest ratio of "under votes," the ballots where voters did not fill in the bubble for him, despite his lack of opposition. Sweeney garnered 3,016 total votes, and  1,937 under votes. 

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About The Author

Sam Allard

Sam Allard is the Senior Writer at Scene, in which capacity he covers politics and power and writes about movies when time permits. He's a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and the NEOMFA at Cleveland State. Prior to joining Scene, he was encamped in Sarajevo, Bosnia, on an...
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