By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NORWOOD - Republicans' hold on the mayor's seat appears to have been broken Tuesday night by the slimmest of margins.
Democratic Councilman Thomas Williams beat Mayor Victor Schneider by 29 votes - or 50.33 percent to 49.67 percent, according to complete but unofficial returns.
Winning margins of less than half a percentage point are subject to an automatic recount.
Democrats also maintained their control of City Council on Tuesday, taking seven council seats.
The only Republicans to win were Council President Jane Grote, who easily fended off challenger Debbie Davidson; Cassandra Brown in Ward 5, and Michael Gabbard, an at-large candidate.
The race was close in Ward 5, which includes the site of the latest proposed Rookwood development. Brown's opponent, Republican Ronald Rankin, took 48 percent of the vote.
However, the controversy over the city's willingness to seize private property for the Rookwood Exchange was not a major issue in Norwood's races. Rather, candidates focused on services, finances and the need to reduce partisan bickering.
The mayor's race was a contest between two former public servants.
Williams, 63, is a retired Norwood police captain.
He was elected to City Council two years ago after an unsuccessful bid in 1999 to unseat former Mayor Joe Hochbein.
Schneider, 38, served as the city's service director and public works supervisor before being appointed to replace Hochbein in June.
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ELECTION 2003: OHIO, INDIANA
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ELECTION 2003: KENTUCKY
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