Nadel Defeats Winburn In GOP Recorder's Race

Mar 15, 2016

Norbert Nadel
Credit Provided

Former judge Norbert Nadel has defeated Cincinnati council member Charlie Winburn in a hotly-contested primary for Hamilton County recorder.

With 554 of 556 precincts reporting, Nadel had 59 percent to 41 percent for Winburn.

Winburn conceded around 11 p.m. 

Nadel, who spent nearly 40 years as a judge before Ohio's judicial age limit ended his career on the bench, told WVXU that, despite the rough-and-tumble nature of his fight with Winburn, "I don't want to be negative tonight." 

"We're all statesmen tonight and I was unhappy about a lot of the things that said, the untruths and all that sort of thing really challenging my reputation.." 

When asked by WVXU, Winburn would not say he would support Nadel in the fall campaign. 

"I'm just going to rest and enjoy life and leave campaigns alone for a while,'' Winburn said. 

"The person who ran against me saw it as...he was entitled to it,'' Winburn said. "Because had already been on the ballot for 32 years; and felt this was something he had to do." 

The pair battled to take on Democratic incumbent Wayne Coates in the November election. Coates swept into office in 2008, a good year for Democrats in Hamilton County; and was re-elected four years ago. In both years, Barack Obama won Hamilton County.

Nadel said he is certain his campaign against Coates this fall "will be a positive campaign and we'll get a chance to talk about the recorder's office and about how we can make it better." 

Elections for county recorder are generally quiet affairs – after all, how much is there to argue about on how to file deeds and land records?

But this Republican contest between Winburn and Nadel was ugly from the start, with Nadel accusing Winburn of being the target of investigations (including one by the FBI) on spending practices at the Metropolitan Sewer District and Winburn firing back with charges that Nadel, in his long career as a judge, went easy on a man accused of domestic violence and of expunging the record of a pedophile.

Both vehemently denied the attacks.

“Let whatever investigation happens happen,’’ Winburn said. “I know I didn’t do anything wrong or improper. I haven’t lost a bit of sleep over this.”

Nadel called Winburn’s charges “nonsense” and made the argument that if he was a judge who was soft on crime, a law-and-order Republican like former sheriff Simon L. Leis Jr. wouldn’t be chairing his campaign.

The Republican ballot Tuesday contained a third name – that of former Anderson Township trustee Russ Jackson. Jackson withdrew after the ballots were printed.

So election officials placed signs in every polling place in the county saying that any votes cast for Jackson would not count. A similar message went out with every absentee ballot that was mailed out.

Nadel was particularly worried about Jackson’s name being on the ballot, telling voters constantly that Jackson had endorsed him and that votes cast for the former trustee would be wasted votes.