Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Donald Wins -- Again

I'm not sure this was ever in doubt but Finley was game. Don Plusquellic wins by over a thousand votes, the closest the race was came at the very beginning when the vote count started and Finley was within seven votes. Of course, that was two minutes after the first ballots were received at the Board of Elections on Grant Street. About three minutes later it was Plusquellic on a pony off to the races.

We were cranking out updates not only for broadcast but also online; our wrap-up coverage on AkronNewsNow includes updates to posted stories, so the time stamps will be somewhat confusing but suffice it to say the Mayor's race was over fairly early. We called the Mayor's race at about 8:47pm during the Indians game on WAKR, and about a minute later on ANN.

Finley wouldn't concede despite the clear numbers, saying the screw-up by some poll workers in turning GOP voters away who wanted to cross over in the primary (legal in Ohio, by the way) were told no and given conflicting information. This is serious stuff and kind of "shoe on the other foot" in more ways than one. Maybe the Democrats actually learned a lesson or two in 2000 and 2004 and instead of whining about losing figured out they could convince people not to vote hiding behind confusing laws, too. Either way it won't make up a thousand-vote deficit and I'm disappointed; Joe seemed like a better man to take his ball home with him from the $1 beer night at the Crowne Plaza without walking upright and admitting defeat.

No real challenges to established Akron with the exception of the two council races in Ward Four and Ward Six; in Renee Greene's case she's four down from Deandre Fourney, who ran a hell of a grassroots campaign. Greene won't give it up with about 80 provisional ballots she's counting on; Terry Albanese holds on to a 12 vote margin, and both will see mandatory automatic recounts.

November will have another set of political ying-yang: CSB and ADM levies, schools, Norton's Mayor's race, Green, the Falls Muni Court Clerk (my personal pick for microcosm of Summit County politics) but it won't have Plusquellic kicking around pundits. Too bad -- I got the sense this year he finally figured out the gruff bully act might actually be a liability at times and a bit more seasoning might prep him better for life after Akron, even if that is in 24 more years* by his reckoning.

*in his postgame comments he noted at the rate he's losing margin he could serve for more than 40 years.

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