WEST CHESTER, Ohio (AP) — Turnout was light Tuesday morning as Democrats in former House Speaker John Boehner’s Ohio district cast ballots for the party’s nominee to oppose his Republican successor in a special primary whose outcome is a foregone conclusion.
Former congressional staffer Steve Fought is running unopposed, but elections officials in the House district’s six counties area required by law to hold a vote.
Republican Warren Davidson won a June 7 special election to complete Boehner’s term in a landslide over Democrat Corey Foister, and Foister in July abruptly withdrew from the November ballot.
Butler County elections Director Diane Noonan said some polling stations hadn’t seen a voter more than two hours after polls opened. She called turnout “very slow” in the GOP-dominated district.
“It’s going to be a long day for the people (poll workers) sitting out there,” she said.
Elections officials plan to follow usual procedures and release the results after polls close at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
The special primary is costing the counties some $500,000 total.
“This is just ridiculous,” Noonan said.
She and other elections officials are hoping state legislators will change Ohio law to avoid a repeat of such one-candidate special primary elections.
Fought is a former communications director and legislative director for U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Toledo Democrat. Davidson, a businessman and former Army Ranger, took office in Washington soon after the June special election.
Davidson and Foister won dual March primaries for the special election and November general election nominations.
Poll station supervisor Rodney Dukes said workers were trading predictions on how many voters they would see at Endeavor Elementary in West Chester Township. The guesses ranged from 10 to 35.
Crystal Dandridge, 35, was the first at 7:15, about 45 minutes after polls opened.
“It’s my civic duty,” she said, saying she comes from a family with a military background. “I like politics, and this gets my morning started.”
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