A battle of Marietta natives

On the side

Provisional ballots: The Mahoning County Board of Elections will meet at 8 a.m. Wednesday to count provisional ballots.

The vote count could impact some close races, most notably for a spot on the Canfield Township board of trustees and a Canfield city charter amendment to restrict those appointed to city board positions to serve three-year terms with a maximum of two consecutive terms.

There are 11 votes separating incumbent Canfield Trustee Marie Cartwright from challenger Dave Morrison with 17 provisional ballots. The Canfield city charter amendment is up by 3 votes with 13 provisional ballots.

Other close races that could see recounts after provisional votes are counted include a Poland Township trustee’s position, and a seat on the West Branch school board.

Automatic recounts occur when there is 0.5 of 1 percent difference in the margin of victory.

Recounts will start at 8 a.m. Nov. 25, but there’s never been a recount overturned in Mahoning County under its paper ballot/optical scanner system.

The 6th Congressional District race will pit two-term incumbent Bill Johnson, a Republican, against Democrat Jennifer Garrison, a former three-term Ohio House member. Both are from Marietta.

The 18-county 6th includes all of Columbiana County and eight townships in Mahoning County.

Two well-respected political handicappers — the Cook Political Report and the Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call — consider this a very competitive race and describe it as “leaning Republican.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee plan to devote considerable resources — money, and organizational and strategic resources — to this race.

Both candidates are also busy raising money with Garrison having a fundraiser in Columbus last week with U.S. House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer and another in Canfield on Wednesday.

Based on Garrison’s first campaign finance report, for July to September, she’s got to play catch-up as Johnson raised twice as much money as she did, and he already had a healthy head-start.

The only poll made public so far on the 6th District race isn’t good news for Garrison.

Public Policy Polling, a Democratic firm, polled two dozen districts on behalf of MoveOn.org, a liberal organization, comparing a sitting Republican incumbent to a generic Democrat last month. You’d think with the polling firm and the company paying for it the poll would show Johnson getting crushed.

But the poll, taken Oct. 2-3 of 701 voters in the district, had Johnson leading “his Democratic opponent” 48 percent to 38 percent. This was taken during the early days of the federal government “shutdown,” which lasted from Oct. 1 to 16, something that Garrison supporters point out.

The poll showed 52 percent of those polled opposed the shutdown compared with 42 percent who supported it.

Then came the “push” question about who would you vote for knowing Johnson “supported the government shutdown,” and he still beats the Democratic opponent 49 percent to 41 percent. The poll of 24 targeted Republicans had Johnson with the third highest favorable rating of +6 (41 percent approved of the job he’s doing compared to 35 percent who disapprove).

At the same time, PPP polled the 14th Congressional District, which includes northern Trumbull County, and had freshman U.S. Rep. David Joyce, a Republican from Russell, trailing a generic Democrat 44 percent to 43 percent, within the margin of error. After the push question, generic Democrat leads 47 percent to 44 percent. Michael Wager, a Democrat from Moreland Hills, will run for the seat next year.

PPP also polled two other races with incumbent Republicans, but just as the shutdown ended and the day after it.

In the 15th, Republican incumbent Steve Stivers was losing to a Democratic opponent 47 percent to 40 percent without the push question, and then jumping to 50 percent for the Democratic opponent while Stivers remained at 40 percent. That poll was taken Oct. 15-16.

In the 16th District, incumbent Republican Jim Renacci was losing 48 percent to 41 percent against a Democratic opponent, and then 50 percent to 42 percent after the push question. The Renacci poll was taken Oct. 16-17.

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