Election result flips: Rice edges Wortham for Montgomery County commission seat

Board of Elections certifies final result after counting late-arriving absentee and provisional ballots

Incumbent Democrat Carolyn Rice will retain her seat on the Montgomery County Commission after overcoming a 1,000-plus vote deficit to Republican Jordan Wortham as the final ballots in the November election were counted Tuesday.

At the end of Election Night on Nov. 8, Wortham held a 1,040-vote lead over Rice, but election officials cautioned that those were unofficial results, with more votes to be counted before a winner was announced. The Election Board on Tuesday tabulated more than 3,000 valid provisional ballots and about 6,300 absentee ballots that had been postmarked on time and arrived by the Nov. 18 deadline.

The final result saw Rice pull ahead of Wortham 50.4% to 49.6%.

In other races that had been close on Election Day, Republican State Rep. Andrea White defeated Addison Caruso, while a 4-mill fire and EMS tax levy in Perry Twp. is headed to a recount, as the final results showed it passing by three votes, according to Board of Elections officials.

“I am so thankful to have earned a second term as Montgomery County Commissioner,” Rice said after the votes were tallied. “I appreciate deeply the level of trust and support that voters showed by re-electing me. To everyone who voted, ‘Thank you, thank you, thank you’ for your participation in our democracy.”

She said the last four years were a challenge to the community and she believes her experience helped Montgomery County make progress.

“Montgomery County faced a lot of challenges in the past four years—a tornado, a mass shooting, the COVID pandemic, and economic challenges. I believe the next four years will be better and I look forward to being part of the County team as we respond to community needs. Together, there is nothing that we cannot accomplish.”

Credit: HUE12, LLC

Credit: HUE12, LLC

Wortham did not respond to a request for comment Tuesday.

Rice said she appreciated the Board of Elections staff’s “careful attention to the operation of the election and the counting of all the votes.”

Said Board of Elections Director Jeff Rezabek, a Republican, “I am confident ... that this is the actual vote count of Montgomery County. This is the will of our voters. It is accurate.”

There are several reasons why someone might vote provisional, BOE Deputy Director Sarah Greathouse said, including a name change, a change in address or they forgot their ID. The provisional ballots were checked to make sure the voter cast a countable ballot.

A little more than 1,000 provisional ballots cast were not counted. Rezabek said the most frequent reason ballots were disqualified is that the voter was not registered to vote.

Montgomery County commissioners are responsible for managing a $937 million budget and have appropriating authority for numerous agencies and county offices. There are more than 500,000 residents in Montgomery County.

Rice has served on the commission since 2019 and was Montgomery County Treasurer before that. She said leading up to the election she ran again because she loves public service and the way Montgomery County Commissioners get to help thousands of people’s lives every day.

Wortham, a former Dayton Police officer who now works as a security equity investor and trader, said leading up to the election that he decided to run for office because he wanted to change the status quo. If elected, he said his priorities would be to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, improve business development and make the county government more effective.

Other races, issues

** In the 36th district Ohio House of Representatives race between incumbent Republican Andrea White and Democrat Addison Caruso, White led Caruso by 870 votes heading into Tuesday’s count. She retained the lead, finishing with 50.45% of the vote to earn another term at the Statehouse.

** Perry Twp.’s 4-mill fire and EMS levy was passing by eight votes before Tuesday’s count, and the final results showed it passing by three votes. The results are close enough to trigger a recount, and the results of that process will be announced on Dec. 7.

** In Greene County, there are two recounts scheduled — a Xenia school levy that passed by one vote out of more than 12,000 ballots cast, and the Beavercreek streets levy, which was ahead by a slightly more comfortable margin.

About the Author