WORTHINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — After a contentious local school board race that drew national media attention to Worthington, Kelli Davis, Jennifer Best, and Nikki Hudson won the three seats up for election.
This is a campaign that turned expensive and contentious. Several outside groups pumped money into advertising on lawns and billboards.
Best earned a sixth term and Hudson a second in unofficial results Tuesday, but the most votes went to Davis, a newcomer.
Large billboards appeared in town opposing Hudson’s re-election bid, along with mailers and yard signs supporting Best, Davis and Brian Steel.
A complaint was filed with the state elections commission against a non-profit group called OneWorthington, which has defended its actions in the election. Another group was behind the billboards.
Steel said he did not expect the race to turn into a big-money election. It has “nothing to do with the interests of our kids and transparency interjecting in this race,” he said.
Hudson said, “The amount of money that has been spent to smear me, to spread misinformation about me is truly astounding.”
Hudson also said she was not behind the complaint but that she was consulted on it.
OneWorthington, which has a Canton address, said it is not a political action committee but a nonprofit 501(c)(4) agency.
“The Supreme Court of the United States, in a very famous landmark case called Citizens United, said that for profit and nonprofit corporations have First Amendment political speech rights separate and apart from PACs,” OneWorthington attorney Mark Weaver said. “Federal law recognizes this and Ohio law recognizes this.”
Best said she was not affiliated with any of the groups involved in the race, and Davis did not return a request for comment.