With nearly all precincts reporting, Charmaine McGuffey has overcome Republican challenger Bruce Hoffbauer to become Hamilton County's first woman and openly LGBTQ sheriff, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the office.
McGuffey earned 52% of the vote to Hoffbauer's 47%.
She served in the sheriff's office for 33 years, rising to the rank of major and serving as the commander of Jail and Court Services for Hamilton County. She left the department in 2017.
Hoffbauer served in the Cincinnati Police Department for 34 years, and recently retired as a lieutenant and relief commander of District 3 in Western Hills.
He had been critical of several of McGuffey's incidents throughout her career in the sheriff's department, most notably her demotion in 2017. An internal investigation found that McGuffey created a hostile work environment for her subordinates, and she was demoted to a civilian position. She left the sheriff's office after the demotion, claiming that officers complained of her leadership due to her gender and sexuality.
"My role is to be an example of what you can accomplish as an LGBT person because there's a lot of discrimination out there," McGuffey told WVXU last month. "There were lots of times that I struggled to keep my sexual orientation to myself because I knew that if it got out it would hurt my career."
She has filed a discrimination suit against the department in federal court. The case is still pending.
-Additional reporting by Nick Robertson