Contested races good sign for city elections

Having choices in life is a good thing. It’s especially important in elections.

Voters faced with choosing between multiple candidates for an office get to weigh the pros and cons of each candidate and make what they consider is the best choice with their vote.

Elections work best when the fields for particular offices are robust with candidates. The more choices, the more candidates have to work to demonstrate their message is the best. Voters and communities benefit.

So, it was heartening to see a late push of Democrats and Republicans filing before the Feb. 8 deadline, which resulted in most city races being contested. Except for clerk-treasurer, all of the other city races are contested at either the primary or general election level, or both. 

Columbus City Council at-large has three Republicans candidates — incumbent Laurie Booker, Josh Burnett and John Counceller in the GOP primary, from which two will advance, while the Democratic primary includes two candidates, incumbent Tom Dell and Grace Kestler.

Two races are contested only in the Republican primary: mayor (between incumbent Jim Lienhoop and challenger Glenn Petri) and city council District 1 (incumbent Dascal Bunch and Chris Rutan). 

Three races have single Democratic and Republican candidates, who will square off in the fall: city council District 2 (Republican Jim Hartsook and Democratic incumbent Elaine Wagner), city council district 4 (Republican incumbent Frank Miller and Democrat Michael Schoumacher) and city council District 5 (Republican incumbent Tim Shuffett and Democrat Ross Thomas).

The council District 3 race features a contested Republican primary between incumbent David Bush and Russ Poling, the winner of which will face Democrat Nancy Hoover in the fall.

While a few more contested primaries and a full slate of candidates for all offices would be welcome, the robust field is a welcome sight. That’s a healthy sign for the community, and it gives voters an important choice.

We commend those who chose to put their name on the ballot because of their desire to serve the community.