Saturday, November 6, 2004

Rural v. city politics divides government

The Associated Press

COLUMBUS - While Democrats lost the presidency in Ohio and remained frozen out of the Statehouse, they picked up some significant local seats around the state.

The scattered victories were more evidence that the political divide continues to grow between the urban areas and outlying suburban and now exurban areas even farther out from cities.

All major cities are run by Democrats in Ohio, while Republicans hold all statewide offices. The GOP also controls the House and Senate by wide margins.

"On the local level, people are more inclined to vote for people they know, people they like," said Dennis Lieberman, chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. "On the state or national level, more conservative issues come into play."

Liberman's wife, Debbie, broke an eight-year GOP lock on the Montgomery County Commission when she won an open seat Tuesday.

In Columbus, Democrats took control of Franklin County Commission seats 2-1, and with Democrat Michael Coleman as Columbus mayor, now control all city and county seats in Franklin County for the first time since the 1970s.

In Mansfield, Gary Utt unseated a Republican commissioner to become the first Democrat on the Richland County Commission in about 20 years.

In Republican stronghold Hamilton County, Democrats defeated the incumbent GOP coroner and held onto a county commission seat that they won four years ago, at that time the first Democrat on the commission in decades.

County's election cost: $6M
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