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Record 35 Candidates On The Ballot For Cincinnati Council

Council chambers in Cincinnati City Hall
Jason Whitman

A record 35 candidates are on the ballot for nine seats on Cincinnati City Council. The Ohio Secretary of State this week broke a tie vote on the two latest candidates: Democrat Te'Airea Powell and Republican Tom Brinkman.

The board split 2-2 on petitions for Brinkman, who is currently a state representative, and Powell. Both had missing dates on some of their petitions.

Republicans on the board say substantial compliance is all that is required and technicalities such as missing dates on part petitions don't invalidate the whole petition. The two Democrats say they have disqualified people in the past for missing dates on part petitions and the board should be consistent.

The board met a second time to consider affidavits from petition circulators (two for Brinkman and one for Powell) swearing to the validity of the signatures. Despite the new evidence, the board again voted 2-2, sending the cases to the Ohio Secretary of State for a tie-breaking decision.

Republican Linda Matthews did not request reconsideration after the board rejected her petitions; she fell short of the 500-signature requirement.

Matthews is one of four Republican-endorsed candidates for council. The other three on the ballot are all currently serving on council: Betsy Sundermann and interim members Liz Keating and Steve Goodin.

Longtime former council member Charlie Winburn — a Republican who's been serving as interim county treasurer — qualified for the ballot to run again, but Winburn says he will withdraw.

The Board also voted to certify a petition-driven charter amendment to the ballot. Brinkman circulated the petitions for his multi-part charter amendment, which includes such provisions as lowering council members' salary and creating a process for recalling the mayor.

Updated: September 14, 2021 at 11:36 AM EDT
This article was first published Sept. 7 and has been updated.
Becca Costello grew up in Williamsburg and Batavia (in Clermont County) listening to WVXU. Before joining the WVXU newsroom, she worked in public radio & TV journalism in Bloomington, Indiana and Lincoln, Nebraska. Becca has earned numerous awards for her reporting, including from local chapters of the Associated Press and Society of Professional Journalists, and contributed to regional and national Murrow Award winners. Becca has a master's degree in journalism from Indiana University and a bachelor's degree from Cincinnati Christian University. Becca's dog Cincy (named for the city they once again call home) is even more anxious than she is.
Howard Wilkinson joined the WVXU News Team after 30 years of covering local and state politics for The Cincinnati Enquirer. A native of Dayton, Ohio, Wilkinson has covered every Ohio governor’s race since 1974 as well as 12 presidential nominating conventions. His streak continued by covering both the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions for 91.7 WVXU. Along with politics, Wilkinson also covered the 2001 Cincinnati race riots; the Lucasville Prison riot in 1993; the Air Canada plane crash at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport in 1983; and the 1997 Ohio River flooding. The Cincinnati Reds are his passion. "I've been listening to WVXU and public radio for many years, and I couldn't be more pleased at the opportunity to be part of it,” he says.