Not even his opponent blinked when Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan handily won the Democratic primary Tuesday.
With 97 percent of votes counted Tuesday night, Horrigan had 78 percent of the total.
Horrigan's bid for re-election advances to the Nov. 5 general election against Josh Sines, a ring announcer, new owner of Bob's Hamburg and the only Republican to run for mayor this year in Akron.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to take our message and vision forward into the November general election,” Horrigan said. “It is a privilege to represent the citizens of Akron and I look forward to continuing to speak with voters about the issues that matter most to them and what they want to accomplish over the next four years.”
The Rev. Greg Harrison never claimed to have a strong chance of beating Horrigan. His campaign spent only $45, enough to file his candidacy.
Harrison was upset last fall when Horrigan successfully campaigned for a shorter primary season in Akron. The pastor ran on the concern that "the mayor could pull along a slate of candidates" with his name and campaign contributions to stack Akron's legislative body with friendly elected officials.
"Then we don’t have a balance of power. We don’t have checks and balances," Harrison said, already critical of Akron's charter allowing the mayor to appoint the law director. "This is nothing personal against Dan Horrigan, but we always need checks and balances. And when we don’t have that, we get what we have now, the concentration of the poor, the exclusion of certain races of people."
Asked if he'd support Horrigan as the Democratic nominee, Harrison — who's now talking about campaigning for term limits — said: "I would hope we would support each other."
If the Democratic primary felt like a forgone conclusion, the general election is sizing up to be another lopsided showdown.
Sines "hopes" to raise $30,000 to $40,000 for the usual yard signs, mailers and door-knocking. He said volunteers have been "coming out of the woodwork" to lend a hand. "I don’t expect anything big from the county or the state [Republican Party], though,” he said.
Before Sines entered the primary, Summit County Republican Party Chair Bryan Williams said the local GOP would not waste time or energy in a partisan contest for mayor in Akron, where Democrats hold every seat on the council.
After financially supporting his preferred candidates for the council, Horrigan has about $56,000 cash on hand, as of the latest filing. Sines has close to $4,500.
Sines is framing the general election between Democrat and Republican as “career politician versus small businessman” or “establishment versus outsider.”
"The real question is whether the people of the city like the way it’s been run these past 40 years," said Sines, whose campaign will continue to hammer Horrigan, a former city councilman, for longstanding issues of crime, drugs, public debt and crumbling streets.
"Maybe it'll snow on Election Day," said Sines, taking a jab at the city's widely criticized efforts to plow streets after a bad snowstorm this past winter. "I hope the people wake up and realize they need to change the direction of the city, and they have a chance to do that.”
Reach Doug Livingston at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-996-3792.