Clayton will have a new mayor in January after Councilman Mike Stevens defeated incumbent Mayor Joyce Deitering in Tuesday’s election.
“I attribute my win to getting a message out there: to increase our development in Clayton, economic and residential. And I think that message resonated with our residents,” said Stevens, a Coldwell Banker Heritage real estate agent and retired circulation director for Cox Media Group, which owns this newspaper.
He said he wants to “jump start development” of Villages at North Clayton, a project that is currently tied up in in estate issues after principals of the two development companies died.
Deitering, a Republican attorney who has been mayor since 2006, said she’s not sure why she lost.
“Of course the narrow loss has been disappointing but I have received a number of very touching phone calls, messages and emails relating support and stories about how grateful the citizens are for my many years of service and how my work and the city have positively affected their lives,” said Deitering. “This response and outreach was unexpected and very comforting.”
Deitering is a former councilwoman and Randolph Twp. trustee who ran unsuccessfully for the Ohio legislature against then State Rep. Roland Winburn, a Harrison Twp. Democrat who is now a Harrison Twp. trustee. Deitering is Clayton’s second mayor since the city incorporated in 1998.
Thirty-one votes separated the two candidates on election night - with Stevens getting 1,697 and Deitering receiving 1,666 votes. Those tallies may change slightly as the Montgomery County Board of Elections counts late arriving absentee ballots and provisional ballots that were cast when there were questions about a voter’s eligibility.
The Election Day vote was not close enough to trigger an automatic recount and historically the post-election counting of those final votes generally doesn’t change the outcome of races, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board.
The Clayton Council will choose someone to fill the council seat vacated by Stevens, a Democrat who has been on council for two years, said City Manager Rick Rose. That decision will be made within 30 days of Stevens taking office in January.
Stevens said he and Deitering ran good races. He said the two went to high school together and had a conversation early in the campaign.
“We both kind of on a handshake decided we want to keep our campaigns out of the weeds and we both did that,” Stevens said. “We tried to run on our merits and I think part of that is the reason it was so close. We both had strong merits to run on.”
Other stories by Lynn Hulsey