CINCINNATI -- Tuesday was a good night for incumbents, crime victims and the pharmaceutical industry in Ohio.
Voters re-elected Mayor John Cranley to a second term at Cincinnati City Hall, and all six incumbents in the Cincinnati City Council race kept their seats.
ELECTION RESULTS: Click here for latest vote totals
In Hamilton County, voters renewed levies for addiction and mental health treatment, and health and hospitalization services. They also approved a levy increase for senior services. All three measures got approval from more than 70 percent of voters.
Statewide, a measure to expand the rights of crime victims sailed to an easy victory, while a proposal to curb prescription drug prices tanked.
Here's a closer look at how the major races shook out:
'Comeback kid' in Cincinnati mayor's race
Cranley called himself "the comeback kid" after losing by 11 points in May's three-way primary.
The mayor's main message to voters: stay the course and give me a chance to do more. Cranley emphasized his administration's work to right the city's pension system, improve basic services, end fire brownouts and hire more police officers.
With about 94 percent of precincts reporting, Cranley led Councilwoman Yvette Simpson 55-45. She called him to concede shortly before 11 p.m.
The victory proved Cranley learned a lesson from his loss to Simpson in the primary, a stunner that forced him to shake up his campaign strategy. He switched to a ground game over the summer and, working with paid campaign staff and volunteers, knocked on 90,000 doors.
Cranley used Simpson's late-campaign vote against an expansion of Children's Hospital in Avondale as a wedge issue. It's not clear how many voters that message drove to his side.
The win brings to an end a more than yearlong challenge from Simpson, who announced her candidacy last August. She criticized the mayor for his managerial style and relationships with developers, telling voters she'd take a more collaborative approach to neighborhood projects than her opponent.
Cranley thanked her for a "spirited campaign" and wished her the best. Simpson said she'll finish out her council term, which ends Jan. 2.
City council incumbents come back, too
We knew there would be at least three open seats on city council this election.
It turned out, there would be only three open seats.
All six incumbents -- P.G. Sittenfeld, David Mann, Chris Seelbach, Wendell Young, Christopher Smitherman and Amy Murray -- won re-election.
Two of three newcomers are familiar faces at City Hall: Tamaya Dennard, who placed sixth, was an aide to Sittenfeld. Seventh-place winner Greg Landsman worked on Cincinnati Preschool Promise, to make pre-kindergarten education available for all children.
Jeff Pastor appeared to have won the ninth council seat with 21,339 votes, but Michelle Dillingham in 10th place trailed him by just 317 votes.
The newcomers fill seats left by Charlie Winburn, who was term-limited; Kevin Flynn, who decided not to run again; and Simpson, who ran for mayor instead.
If Pastor's position holds, council will have six Democrats, two Republicans and a lone independent.
In order of votes, they are:
- P.G. Sittenfeld - Democrat
- David Mann - Democrat
- Chris Seelbach - Democrat
- Wendell Young - Democrat
- Christopher Smitherman - Independent
- Tamaya Dennard - Democrat
- Greg Landsman - Democrat
- Amy Murray - Republican
- Jeff Pastor - Republican
Levies renewed by big margins
Hamilton County had to decide on three countywide tax levies. There were no close calls.
Issue 3, renewing the county alcohol, drug addiction and mental health services levy, won with 72 percent support.
The 2.99 mills levy will generate an estimated $34.8 million each year through 2022 to help fund Hamilton County's Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services District, which is estimated to have served more than 23,000 people in 2015.
Voters also renewed the county's health and hospitalization services levy, appearing as Issue 4. It had 70 percent of voters supporting the renewal.
The 4.07 mills levy will bring in an estimated $38 million each year for five years. Funds from the levy help low-income residents receive health services.
And voters decided to renew and increase county's senior services levy 72-28 percent. The five-year levy, at a rate of 1.6 mills, is expected to bring in $25.6 million per year, costing $40.25 for the owner of a home valued at $100,000.
The increase amounts to about $10.85 per year for the owner of a $100,000 house. Council On Aging officials have said the increase was needed because the levy generates $2 million less today than it did in 2008.
Money collected from the levy helps keep more than 5,700 seniors independent in their homes via the Council On Aging's Hamilton County Elderly Services Program, which provides services like home care, emergency response systems, delivered meals and transportation, according to the League of Women Voters.
Funds also go to Hamilton County Jobs and Family Services to investigate cases of abuse, neglect or exploitation of people over age 60 and to Hamilton County Veterans Services.
School board gets fresh faces
Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education had four seats open, and two of three incumbents held on.
Ryan Messer, a political newcomer who was, until now, best known for his streetcar advocacy, placed first.
Incumbent Ericka Copeland-Dansby placed second.
Mike Moroski, a former teacher and principal who ran an unsuccessful race for City Council in 2013, placed third.
Melanie Bates, held onto her seat with a narrow fourth-place finish -- initial totals indicated she beat challenger Renee Hevia by exactly 100 votes.
Daniel Minera, the third incumbent, lost his seat, scooting in with a dead-last 3.55 percent of the vote.
'Marsy's Law' wins in landslide
Issue 1, dubbed Marsy’s Law for Ohio, won voter support across the state. With 99 percent of precincts reporting, about 83 percent of voters favored the measure.
It places new guarantees for crime victims and their families in the state constitution. They include notice of court proceedings, input on plea deals and the ability for victims and their families to tell their story.
The measure was championed by California billionaire Henry Nicholas, whose sister was stalked and killed by her ex-boyfriend. The campaign spent $8.2 million as of mid-October on its effort, which included an ad featuring “Frasier” actor Kelsey Grammer. Spokesman Aaron Marshall called it “a great night for Ohio crime victims and their families.”
The effort faced no organized opposition, although the state public defender, the state prosecuting attorneys’ association and the ACLU all urged “no” votes citing unintended consequences. Just last week, the Montana Supreme Court ruled a nearly identical law in that state unconstitutional, raising the possibility of legal concerns in Ohio as well.
Voters poo-poo Issue 2
Meanwhile, an overwhelming majority of voters couldn't swallow Issue 2, an expensive campaign over prescription drug prices that many believed would be too bitter a pill.
The pharmaceutical industry spent an estimated $70 million to oppose the so-called "Ohio Drug Price Relief Act," saying it would reduce access to medicines and raise prices for veterans and others.
Supporters, led by the California-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, spent close to $17 million in support, saying it would save the state millions of dollars and could force the industry to reduce prices elsewhere.
They called the opposition campaign an “assault on the truth.”
“Make no mistake: Although this particular campaign did not win tonight, it is just the beginning of an awareness in Ohio about what huge drug companies are doing to our people,” the campaign said. “This system we have for drug pricing in America has got to give, and sooner rather than later, one state will successfully stand up to big drug companies and Ohio will wish it could have been the first.”
The measure would have required the state to pay no more for prescription drugs than the Department of Veterans Affairs’ lowest price, which is often deeply discounted.
Curt Steiner, who managed the opposition campaign, said voters “delivered a loud and clear message that Issue 2 was a deceptive and seriously flawed proposal. A large majority of Ohio voters concluded Issue 2 wouldn’t have solved any problems; it would have made things worse.”