With all voting precincts counted, including more than 9,000 early voting ballots, Mayor Teresa Tomlinson cruised to reelection Tuesday night with over 62 percent of the vote.
With only provisional ballots left to be counted, Tomlinson had 15,515 votes to Colin Martin's 9,189 — or 62.74 percent to Martin's 37.16 percent.
“It’s been a tough race, but we kept it clean and on the facts,” Tomlinson said. “To get this kind of turnout and support in a May election is great, and we’re very grateful to our supporters.”
Martin’s defeat is his second as a candidate and third as an activist. He lost a Columbus Council District 2 race to Glenn Davis in 2002 and also ran an unsuccessful campaign against the 1999 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax.
The reelection win for Tomlinson makes her 2-0 in political races. She's the first mayor since consolidation in 1973 to be reelected facing opposition. Mayor Bobby Peters is the only other post-consolidation mayor to be reelected, but he did so without opposition.
“We’re looking forward to the next four years,” Tomlinson said. “As I told my supporters just a few minutes ago, ‘You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.’”
Tomlinson’s campaign has been based on her accomplishments through her first three-plus years in office.
She has replaced a half-dozen department directors in the Parks and Recreation, Public Works departments, the Civic Center, County Prison, Community Reinvestment, Human Resources and Inspections and Code.
She restructured the city’s pension plan so that employees contribute to it, saving taxpayers millions, she claims. She is similarly working on a restructuring of the city’s health care plan, which she hopes will stabilize what has been runaway growth in cost to taxpayers. Opening a new city Health and Wellness Center was a centerpiece in that reform.
Martin campaigned primarily on crime as the central issue. He said a poll indicated that Columbus residents are scared to leave their homes because of rampant crime, and that the mayor needs do something about retaining new police recruits, many of whom leave for other cities after training.
Martin also said he would increase tax revenue by increasing the tax base, growing the economy and providing more jobs for Columbus residents.