Incumbent Smeiles defeats 19-year-old candidate for county commissioner

Cory Smith

Democratic incumbent Chris Smeiles defeated Brett McClafferty in yesterday’s Democratic primary election for Portage County commissioner.

He will campaign to keep his position on the three-member board against Republican Larry Solak of Mantua.

The Kent resident credited a solid local government and successful political history for the win. Smeiles earned 60 percent of the vote and spent roughly $8,000 campaigning to beat the 19-year-old McClafferty.

When asked about the support for McClafferty, Smeiles attributed much of it to what he called the “ham sandwich effect.”

“When facing any new opponent, he or she is usually going to get close to 35 or 40 percent because voters may not vote for a long-time incumbent,” Smeiles said. “Put a ham sandwich on the ballot and it will get close to 40 percent.”

McClafferty said he gained a lot of confidence after running for mayor last year. Despite the loss, he is pleased with his campaign and the support he received.

“More than 10,000 people voted for me because they want more than just experience; they need to see dedication,” McClafferty said. “If you can perpetuate that, and I think I did, people will vote for you.”

McClafferty added that he will support Smeiles in the November elections.

– Cory Smith