Wortham appears to unseat Rice for Montgomery County commission, Keith reelected for auditor

Republican candidate for Montgomery County Commissioner Jordan Wortham appears to have unseated incumbent Democrat Carolyn Rice, according to unofficial final election results from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

The results show Wortham with a 50.3% to 49.7% margin over Rice with all precincts reporting.

Meanwhile, Democrat auditor Karl Keith appears to have won reelection with a 52% to 47% margin over his Republican challenger Karl Kordalis, according to the unofficial results.

There are 4,795 absentee ballots still out and about 4,000 provisional ballots that could impact the elections, said Montgomery County election officials.

ExploreClick here for live election result updates on Tuesday night

Commission race:

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

Rice has been a county commissioner since 2019 and was the Montgomery County Treasurer for more than a decade before becoming a commissioner. She said being a commissioner has been the honor and privilege of her life.

“I absolutely love public service and what the Montgomery County commissioners have the opportunity to do because we get to help thousands of people every day in so many different ways,” she said.

Credit: HUE12, LLC

Credit: HUE12, LLC

Her priorities if re-elected will continue to be jobs, housing and homelessness and mental health and addiction prevention and recovery, she said. During her time as commissioner, the county has expanded its workforce development by creating the mobile workforce unit and the Employment Opportunity Center in the Westown Shopping Center. Rice said these projects and others help bring services to people where they are and also helps fill important jobs in the area.

Meanwhile, Wortham decided to run for office because he wants to change the status quo.

“We have too many career politicians consumed with re-election, special interests, and political parties,” he said. “The three Montgomery County Commission seats have been comprised of all endorsed Democrats for several decades. However, this is not a true reflection of the county. One party controlled institutions lead to the lack of transparency, accountability, and checks and balances.”

He said if elected, his priorities will be to eliminate bureaucratic red tape, business development and making the county government more effective. Getting rid of “overly cumbersome regulations and minimizing taxation” will help attract entrepreneurs and business investment, Wortham said, adding that he will focus on changing “outdated policies that burden the system and people” and “make technology upgrades to reduce lag time and unnecessary hurdles for government workers and people.”

Auditor race:

The Montgomery County Auditor is the county’s chief fiscal officer, assessor and is responsible for paying the county’s bills, distributing taxes collected by the county treasurer and preparing annual financial statements. Voters had a choice between incumbent Democrat Karl Keith and challenger Republican Karl Kordalis.

Keith, who lives in Dayton, has held the job since 2000 and said his experience has given him a deep understanding of the job. He said his institutional knowledge has been a major asset, especially since his office has been forced to adapt to many legal and technological changes over the years.

Keith said county residents know him as “the gas pump guy,” because he and members of his office are regularly out and about testing and certifying the county’s roughly 5,000 gas pumps.

The auditor’s office each year also inspects about 13,000 to 20,000 retail scanners and 2,000 scales in the county.

Meanwhile, Kordalis blamed Keith for inflated property valuations.

Overvalued properties means property owners are paying more than they should in taxes, and Montgomery County has one of the highest property tax rates in the state, said Kordalis, who describes himself as a fiscal conservative.

Residential property values in the auditor’s in most recent countywide revaluation increased 15%. Keith’s office proposed a smaller increase while the Ohio Department of Taxation wanted a larger one and they ended up reaching a compromise.

Kordalis, 35, who lives in Washington Twp., is a real estate agent with Sibcy Cline and he also has his own legal practice, with offices in Dayton, Xenia and Springboro. He said if elected he would not try to make this a lifetime job. He said he would take over, implement needed changes and eventually move on.

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