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Ginther Cruises In Primary, Tighter Race For Second

First place in last night's non-partisan Columbus mayoral race was not much of a surprise, but second place was a close race.  

And there will be new candidates - and political newcomers - in the contest for Columbus City schools board. Alison Holm has more.

Columbus City Council President Andy Ginther took the lead early in the evening and held it, picking up 52 percent of the vote -- more than all three other candidates combined.  The commanding lead was not a surprise; Ginther - a former Columbus City Schools Board member - had the backing of retiring Mayor Michael Coleman.  He also had close to $2 million dollars in contributions in the closing days of the campaign, with big donations from political pacs for banks, unions, and hospitals.  Still, in his victory speech at the fire fighters union hall, Ginther said the focus of his race is the middle class.

AG: We're gonna build America's Opportunity City - that's where Columbus belongs. With the largest middle class of any city in America, and a place you're more likely to go from poverty to the middle class than anywhere else in the country.
Ginther will face another Democrat in the November election.  Although Franklin County Sheriff Zach Scott was the first candidate to officially enter the mayoral race, he was locked into a tight race for second place for much of the evening, eventually beating Republican Terry Boyd by just over 100 votes in unofficial results.  Scott raised about $400-thousand dollars, nearly half of that since February, and says he's ready for a battle in the next six months. 
ZS:  Yeah, we feel very confident, very confident.  Campaign ran a good race; you know, the numbers and the calls we had and everything.... So the trends are good, our polling was good, so we're very confident.
Scott narrowly edged out Franklin University professor and former school board president Terry Boyd, the lone Republican in the race.  Community activist James Ragland, who narrowly made it onto the ballot after a problem with his nominating petition, pulled in 12% of the vote.
The field was a little more closely packed in the race for Columbus City Schools Board of Education, where 10 candidates competed for 8 spots on the November ballot.  School board member Mary Jo Hudson, who was appointed to the board in February of 2014, was the clear leader, with 16 percent of the votes.  W. Shawna Gibbs, who has served on the board since 2008, picked up 14 percent of the vote, and former judge Eric Brown garnered 13 percent.  Political newcomers Tina Pierce, a former college professor, and Bernadine Kennedy Kent, an educational activist who has spoken before the board many times, picked up 9 percent of the vote.  Both say they see their election as a call to shake things up on the school board. Board president Gary Baker, who placed sixth in the field.  Ben Tyson and Jim Hunter rounded out the slate of candidates who will vie for four seats on the school board in the November general election.

A native of Chicago, naturalized citizen of Cincinnati and resident of Columbus, Alison attended Earlham College and the Ohio State University. She has equal passion for Midwest history, hockey and Slavic poetry.