Coppinger wins handily in county mayor race

Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says his record speaks for itself.
Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger says his record speaks for itself.

In the campaign for Hamilton County mayor, Republican incumbent Jim Coppinger cruised to an easy victory over Democratic challenger Aloyse Brown.

With all 130 precincts reporting, Coppinger had 33,576 votes to Brown's 22,025.

Coppinger, 63, campaigned on the theme of maintaining progress in economic development and education. He touted a $290 million investment in new school funding and construction; the lowest unemployment rate in nearly two decades and a steady influx of new and expanding businesses.

Coppinger led steadily throughout the night and his lead widened to more than 11,000 as the count grew higher.

"I want to thank all the citizens of Hamilton County who went out to vote today and show their confidence in the leadership we've demonstrated," Coppinger said. "We were obviously pleased with the numbers and we're excited to go back to work tomorrow to continue to grow the county and address what's the most important issue in Hamilton County government, which is education."

Brown, a first-time candidate, criticized Coppinger for a lack of transparency and communication with the county's citizens. The 40-year-old businesswoman said she would involve the taxpayers more in government decision-making and bring new energy and ideas to county government.

In a statement, Brown said that while she didn't win, "I remain inspired by the endless possibilities for prosperity, equality, and opportunity that continues in our community."

She called Coppinger "a good and capable man, and a true son of Hamilton County," and called on county residents "to remember that we can make a difference after elections are over, too."

This is the first year Democrats have even fielded a candidate for mayor since 2006, when Brian Johnson was trounced by incumbent Republican Claude Ramsey, 10,442 to 6,175.

The only Democrat to have held the seat was Dalton Roberts, who was elected county executive when the executive-commission form of government was created after the 1978 state constitutional convention.

Roberts retired in 1994 and was succeeded by Ramsey.

The county mayor is paid $163,446 a year and serves a four-year term.

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