Why Tuesday’s election wins were historic in Butler County

Women dominated Butler County politics in Tuesday night’s primary election.

The primary victories by Butler County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter, Statehouse candidate Sara Carruthers and congressional candidate Vanessa Enoch were dominate, according to board of elections data.

MORE: Political rookie Sara Carruthers beats incumbent Wes Retherford in Statehouse primary

Tuesday night set up November to be a strong showing for women in politics as well. Five of the six candidates in the three Butler County Statehouse races, both candidates in the Butler County Commission race and one of the candidates in the 8th Congressional District race are women.

“I do think it’s a hopeful sign for both parties that they’re able to recruit very good women candidates for office,” said Miami University political science professor Chris Kelley. “That’s always been a problem with recruitment — that historically women were unwilling to go through that process where they would be facing an old boys network and voters who were suspicious of women running for political office.”

Carruthers received 46.5 percent of the vote over two experienced politicians on Tuesday. Kelley says Retherford’s March 2017 OVI arrest, where he was found passed out and intoxicated in his pickup truck that was parked idling in a McDonald’s drive-through, was too much to overcome.

“Incumbency is an advantage, but there are limits to that advantage,” he said. “Had Retherford’s problems not been so close to the election, and this story line not been in the minds of the voters — not to mention all of the other problems the Republicans are having at the state legislature — I just think that crippled him.”

The Carruthers campaign also had plenty of funding. She loaned her campaign $180,000 and spent most all of it, according to pre-primary campaign finance reports.

In her first attempt at running for office, Carruthers won the GOP’s nomination for the 51st Ohio House District seat by 1,001 votes, according to unofficial election results. That’s over the incumbent, Rep. Wes Retherford, and Greg Jolivette, who represented the district from 1997 to 2004.

The numbers surrounding Carruthers’ win include:

• winning 65 of 90 precincts (86.4 percent of her votes came from these precincts);

• receiving 1,112 more votes over Retherford in those 65 precincts; and

• winning four precincts by more than 60 votes, including Retherford’s home district

MORE: Incumbent Cindy Carpenter will face Middletown resident in November Butler County commission race

Carpenter’s victory over West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong was just as dominate. She received 59.3 percent of the unofficial vote. The numbers include:

• winning 249 of the 282 precincts in the county (91 percent of her votes came from these precincts);

• receiving more than 11,200 votes over Wong in those 249 precincts

• winning 10 precincts by more than 50 votes; however, Wong won his home district.

MORE: Warren Davidson’s Democratic challenger will be Butler County’s Vanessa Enoch

Enoch, who is in her first campaign for an elected office, was competing against three men to be the Democratic Party’s nominee to run against U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy. She won with 57.8 percent of the vote.

She received at least 40 percent of the vote in five of the six counties that make up the 8th Congressional District, and received more than half in the district’s two largest counties: Butler and Clark counties.

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