Auditor: Sykes (D) Calls Prevailing "Difficult" But Will See Process Through
Auditor candidate State Rep. Barbara Sykes (D-Akron) told the Akron Beacon Journal that her prospects aren't good, but there are enough questions lingering about uncounted absentee and provisional ballots to compel her to wait for the final count:
"As we look at last night's results, it does appear difficult for my candidacy to prevail as things currently stand. However, there are simply too many unanswered questions regarding the number of provisional votes, including Cuyahoga County, which may still impact vote totals. Without that data, we cannot come to any meaningful conclusions.Sykes is about 70,000 votes (or about 2%) behind State Rep. Mary Taylor (R-Green) out of more than 3.5 million votes tallied, with at least 144,000 absentee and provisional ballots left to be counted statewide.
"One thing is certain, this is a close race. Obviously, for the best interests of Ohioans, when that statistical information is available I will issue an appropriate statement at that time."
I spoke today to Sykes campaign manager Samantha Herd, who admitted that it really doesn't look like there are enough remaining ballots for Sykes to win but there are more than enough for the campaign to need to continue the process.
Even if she does not win, however, Herd told me to expect Sykes to "remain very involved both with the party and working with this administration to make sure that the African American community feels that is is being well represented." Sykes is the president of the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus and will be an active participant in its meeting next week. She is also on the rules committee of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators, which has a meeting at the end of the month in Jackson, Mississippi. "Barbara Sykes by no means will be slipping quietly into the night," Herd said. "She is very much needed as a voice in the Democratic Party."
One of the concerns that Herd expressed to me is the apparent lack of turnout effort in predominantly African American urban areas in this election. This is reflected in the disappointing showing not only for Sykes but for Supreme Court candidate Ben Espy (D-Columbus). It is not that Herd is bitter or thinks it was a matter of deliberate strategy, but the "push just didn't seem to be there" in some urban areas, including in Franklin County. "Not enough door-knockers and canvassers," she said. It is very important to address the need for more turnout effort in these areas as we approach the 2008 presidential election, she added.
UPDATE: Pho notes that turnout in Cuyahoga County (Cleveland)
2nd UPDATE: Actually, Cuyahoga County turnout was 53.3%, almost identical to the statewide figure of 53.2%. However, Franklin County drastically underperformed at 44.74%, and Hamilton also lagged at 49.80%. This is a problem that must be addressed.