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Columbus Mayoral Race: Ragland Discusses Ginther Endorsement; Scott Campaign Responds

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Yesterday morning, former mayoral candidate James Ragland announced his support for current mayoral candidate Andrew Ginther. The two men disagreed on many issues during the primary debates earlier this year, so the news caught some by surprise. We reached out to Ragland for some additional information on his decision, and he said that he came to the conclusion to support the Ginther campaign after having direct conversations with each of the candidates and their teams this summer.

“I expressed to each that my support would be dependent upon their ability to demonstrate a sensitivity to the issues that I tried to champion as a candidate,” said Ragland. “I was clear that I would not just support ‘lip service’, but real ideas and policies that focused on family stability, jobs for residents, raising the median income, improving relations between the community and the police, and support for mental health and social services initiatives.”

Ragland said that as the campaigns have progressed, it became clear to him that Ginther had listened to his ideas and was already making movement to enact them as policy. One of those issues being the rollout of body cameras for Columbus police officers, which Ragland stated “You’re welcome, Columbus” in the comments section of an article here on Columbus Underground back in May, further stating that his staunch position on the topic helped move the issue forward.

“As a candidate in the Mayor’s race that supported the chronically underserved and disenfranchised, it was necessary for me to be bold and assertive in challenging my opponents on their stances on the issues related to Columbus’ most vulnerable residents,” he explained. “Andy has had a role in City leadership for quite some time, and he is very outspoken about the positives and negatives of Columbus during his time in office. There are always going to be issues in which we may agree to disagree on approach, policy implementation, and priority; however how we interact and respond to those disagreements will be a catalyst to the successful future of Central Ohio.”

As for mayoral candidate Zach Scott, Ragland still praises him as an individual, but points to the “rift” in the local Democratic party as a polarizing issue, and praises Ginther for rallying a team of leaders from the party that are capable of moving the city forward.

“I am standing with Andy and his team, united in making certain that all voices are heard and all residents of our city can benefit from the prosperity that is available in Columbus,” he said. “Both Zach Scott and Terry Boyd are good men, with great ideas; however after watching intently the progress that each campaign made over the last few months, and speaking with both candidates directly, it became clear that Andy Ginther would be best suited to lead Columbus into the future.”

We reached out to Zach Scott for comment on the news yesterday, and the response was much more critical of Ragland’s decision.

“I am surprised and not sure what to make of this,” said Tracy Maxwell Heard, Campaign Manager for Scott. “I am as confused by the endorsement as Mr. Ragland must be to have made it.”

Heard reiterated the reversal in Ragland’s stance on Ginther’s policies since the primary debates, pointing out how he was in agreement with Scott on many issues at that point in time.

“Further, he even attended meetings with the Scott campaign preparing to step into the role of manager,” she added.

With just five weeks until election day on November 3rd, Heard took the opportunity to continue to call the opposing candidate into question.

“[Ragland] challenged [Ginther] on his lack of accomplishments — having been on council eight years but not delivering any of the things he is now promising,” she said. “Is bribery, pay to play and data scrubbing the ‘solid background and experience’ Columbus needs?” 

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