November 24, 2014

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North Ridgeville Council at-large representatives remain same after tight race

Jerry Armstrong, right, North Ridgeville council at large candidate, Jim Leonard, on left, NR Council at Large candidate , and Jim Vargo, center, chairman of NR democrats, check for results at All Fired Up in North Ridgevillle on Nov 5. Steve Manheim

North Ridgeville Council-at-large candidates Jerry Armstrong, right, Jim Leonard, left, and Jim Vargo, center, chairman of North Ridgeville Democrats, check for results at All Fired Up in North Ridgevillle. STEVE MANHEIM/CHRONICLE

NORTH RIDGEVILLE – The look of City Council’s at-large representatives will remain the same for another four years following a tight race that saw the trio of incumbent Republicans retain their posts.

Council President Kevin Corcoran led the vote tally followed by fellow GOP at-large council members Bernadine Butkowski and Roseanne Johnson, according to unofficial election results.

Corcoran, 45, again out-distanced his fellow candidates by a wide margin, garnering 3,908 votes, which was more than 700 votes above second-place finisher Butkowski, whose 3,178 votes secured her eighth term in office to continue her run as Council’s longest-tenured members.

Johnson, 59, a retired Elyria Municipal Court bailiff, acknowledged she was a tight race that at one point in the evening had vote totals for herself and Democratic challengers Jerry Armstrong and Jim Leonard separated by less than a half-percent.

Final unofficial numbers put Johnson ahead of Armstrong and Leonard by 140-odd votes, with Johnson netting 2,997 votes to Armstrong’s 2,863 and Leonard’s 2,851. Democrat Robert Chapek placed sixth with 2,311 votes.

“We had a good bunch running,” Johnson said. “It’s too bad everyone couldn’t win because they all have a genuine interest in the city.”

Johnson also said Tuesday’s race continued a recent trend of more apparent voter interest in Council races.

“It was that way in the primaries, too,” Johnson said. “It’s good to see people get involved.”

Earlier in the evening when vote tallies were extremely close, Armstrong said “regardless of how it comes out, this has been a real learning experience for me.”

An insurance agent with a background in finance and banking, Armstrong said it is important for the city moving forward to market itself to potential businesses in a different way.

“We are a fast-growing city and need to get out into the region and be proactive rather than reactive,” Armstrong said.

Corcoran, an attorney for Bob Schmitt Homes, Inc., said despite the close Council race, Tuesday’s vote tallies in the city show residents clearly were more focused on the bond issue for a new school.

“People really made their concern about the schools the focus of this election,” Corcoran said. “This was pretty much a referendum on the schools moving forward or not.”

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.