Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman wins third term

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Michael Coleman defended his position as mayor of Columbus Tuesday night after what some might consider his most challenging campaign since he took office in 1999. This will be Coleman’s third term as mayor.

Four years ago Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman ran for office uncontested. But this time was different. Coleman faced criticism from republican Bill Todd. Although Todd’s campaign said Coleman is soft on crime, ignores the school system and does not bring enough jobs to the city, Coleman was still re-elected. The mayor said he ran on his track record and a positive campaign. And Coleman told supporters that’s what helped him win.

“They embraced our vision for a progressive city. They embraced our vision for a great city. And the second thing they did is they rejected divisive and negativism,” Coleman said.

While Coleman continues to tout Columbus as the best place to live, work and raise a family, he said there is still work to be done.

“We’ll call it the bridge to the bicentennial,” Coleman said. Columbus’ bicentennial is 2012. And Coleman said much of his next term will be preparing the city for that milestone.

“We’ll work hard everyday to improve the city in multiple ways from our neighborhoods, to our streets, to our safety, to our healthcare, to our education, to our children, so that by the time our bicentennial comes along it will be the first year of our golden age,” Coleman said.

At the same time Coleman appeared on television to give his acceptance speech, republican mayoral candidate Bill Todd took the podium at the Columbus Athletic Club to address his supporters.

“This has been a campaign of conscience. This has been a campaign of conscience because we set out here this year to bring to the attention of the community important issues,” Todd said.

Todd’s campaign focused on crime, jobs and education. But he told supporters Tuesday night that education is the most important issue of the three.

“Every child in Columbus deserves a quality education and that’s something we wanted to make sure was brought to the attention to the community, in this campaign and on into the future,” Todd said.

Todd filed a lawsuit in mid-September against the Ohio Department of Education and Columbus City Schools. The lawsuit claims the state education department and the city school system have unfair and inequitable policies. Todd said the lawsuit will continue.

Two of the biggest obstacles running against Coleman, Todd said, were money and time.

“It’s difficult to raise money. It’s difficult to have that kind of exposure that you need to overcome somebody’s name identification that’s been built up for more than a decade. So that was something that we found was a very challenging piece of the campaign,” Todd said.

Unofficial results show Coleman with 70 percent of the vote. If he completes his third term he will be the longest running mayor in Columbus history.

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