MARYSVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — A write-in candidate overtook an incumbent Marysville City Council member in the Tuesday general election, an initial count showed Monday.
As of Thursday, Steven Wolfe held a narrow edge of 1,013 votes to Councilman Aaron Carpenter’s 998, according to Union County’s unofficial election results report. Wolfe, previously an intern for Rep. Jim Jordan’s office and now a legislative aide in the Ohio House of Representatives, faced an uphill fight from the start, as the candidate’s name was never printed on the ballot.
“I (decided to run) the weekend after the deadline to file to get on the ballot,” Wolfe said. “A big thing was making sure people were able to remember my name, spell my name, get it on the ballot there and write it in.”
Wolfe told NBC4 that feedback from his neighbors and other residents in Marysville’s 1st Ward was what prompted his run for the council chair, with years of complaints spurring him.
Elected in 2019, incumbent councilman Carpenter faced controversy after he announced he went to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6, 2021, to “peacefully protest voter fraud in the 2020 election.” He posted photos on his council Facebook page at the Save America March, which showed he had VIP access to former President Donald Trump’s rally. While he walked with the crowd, Carpenter said he did not participate when protesters stormed the Capitol and wasn’t aware that happened until he left Washington.
“I did not see any riots,” Carpenter wrote. “I did not feel threatened. I did not see anything but patriotism and love for our country.”
Wolfe had a different viewpoint during his run for the council chair.
“The election happened, Joe Biden’s our president, that’s what I believe,” Wolfe said. “It was a concern to me to see those comments come out back then, and I know a lot of the residents here felt the same way. They were disappointed to see that out of their councilman, and you know, using his platform as a member of council to continue to espouse those views.”
That issue, Wolfe noted, was a segue to other problems.
“After everything had happened with Jan. 6, there was just an inability to communicate or contact Mr. Carpenter,” Wolfe said. “That’s one of the big concerns that citizens had and one of the things that led to a dissatisfaction with their representation.”
Carpenter did not respond when NBC4 asked for comment on the loss on Thursday. City offices were closed on Friday for Veterans Day, according to the Marysville government website.
On his plans for if he gets to hold office, Wolfe said he is particularly focused on the level of housing and real estate development he has seen happening in Marysville.
“I want to make sure we’re doing this growth responsibly. Not stopping growth, but slowing down, reassessing what we’re doing, how we’re growing, where we’re growing, and making sure we’re taking care of problems before they’re problems,” Wolfe said.
Carpenter wasn’t the only incumbent to lose his seat in the election, but he was the only one challenged by a write-in candidate. Zachary Bordner more than doubled 2nd Ward Councilman Alan Seymour’s votes, and Scott Hunter defeated 3rd Ward Councilwoman Deborah Groat, Union County election results show.