November 8, 2019

Oxford elects two new councilors and one incumbent

Oxford City Council gained two "new" members and elected one incumbent in Tuesday's election. Former Mayor Bill Snavely, and Ph.D. candidate Jason Bracken won open seats and councilor Glenn Ellerbe won re-election to his seat. Their terms start Nov. 25.

Lifelong resident and University Motors manager Hueston Kyger, and Chris Skoglind, a recent arrival to Oxford and former councilman in a Pennsylvania borough, were defeated.

Voters could choose up to three candidates on their ballots. Snavely led all candidates, garnering 28.32% of the 5,573 votes cast for council. Bracken won 22.56%, and Ellerbe received 20.89%.

Kyger won 14.89% of the total votes, while Skoglind won 13.35%.

Only residents living within Oxford city limits were allowed to vote in the council race. A total of 2,104 voters cast ballots, 18.6% of the registered voters eligible to vote, according to the Butler County Board of Elections.

That number is low because of the high number of college students, many of which have moved away, who are registered in Oxford. In the six precincts encompassing Uptown and Miami's campus, a combined 4.6% of registered voters submitted ballots. In all seven remaining precincts, a combined 31.4% of 5,925 registered voters -- some of whom may still be college students -- turned out.

Snavely, who spent time on council and as mayor from the late '80s through the early 2000s, spent election night with some of those who helped him win.

"We had some supporters together, and we watched the returns come in," he said. "It's great, it's gratifying and a little humbling to come out on top. So I feel very good about it."

Bracken, who started studying at Miami in 2012 as a graduate student, said a lot of the traction he got came from online postings and discussions. He also was quick to point to the Butler County Progressive PAC's endorsement and marketing support as reasons for his victory. Bracken has been active in the Progressive PAC for years.

Signs the Progressive PAC put up around town -- with their endorsements of Snavely, Ellerbe and Bracken for council, as well as ones with the group’s school board endorsements -- were ubiquitous in Oxford in recent weeks.

Ellerbe said that it was clear at the debate last week that the candidates shared most views, so the race fell to other things.

"It's basically a popularity contest, so it falls to marketing," he said. "I ended up third, and I'm absolutely positive that was because of the Butler County Progressive Political Action Committee."

Other election results around the area

In Reily Township, incumbent trustee Nick Schwab won re-election against challenger Mandy Tuertscher. Schwab received 76.1% of the 719 votes cast. Also, in Reily, incumbent fiscal officer Dianne Halcomb won her uncontested race.

In Oxford Township, current Oxford councilor and mayor Kate Rousmaniere, who is term-limited off council after two consecutive terms, won an uncontested election for Oxford township trustee. Rousmaniere's term on council ends Nov. 24, and her term on the board of trustees begins Jan. 1, 2020.

Also, in Oxford township, incumbent township fiscal officer Shaunna Tafelski won an uncontested re-election.

In Hanover Township, incumbent trustee Larry Miller and incumbent fiscal officer Greg Sullivan won their uncontested re-election campaigns.

Finally, in Milford Township, incumbent trustee Amy Butterfield won her uncontested re-election campaign.