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  • Writer's pictureJoe Motil

A letter from Joe: Official Election Results and Campaign Summary

Hi Everyone,

I have held off on writing to all of you until the Franklin County Board of Elections had officially tallied all the votes. It typically takes the Board a couple of weeks after the election to count provisional and late absentee ballots.

On Monday November 27, BOE officials certified the 2023 Franklin County General Election Results. I received 36% of the vote with 76,989 votes. I was outspent by my opponent by a 60-1 margin.

My vote total was the highest number of votes that an unendorsed major party candidate has received in the city’s 57 Columbus mayoral elections from 1816 to present, and I am one of only two unendorsed major party candidates to run for mayor in Columbus. The other mayoral election took place 76 years ago in 1947 between insurgent Floyd Green and James Rhodes who were both Republicans.

As a losing candidate, my vote total was the third highest ever recorded. The two election losses with higher vote totals were Michael J. Dorrian’s 92,054 in 1983 and Ben Espy’s 1991 loss to Greg Lashutka with 79,083. I also outvoted former mayor Michael Coleman in his 2003 unopposed election and 2007 win over Republican Bill Todd and Andy Ginther in his 2019 mayoral election that he ran unopposed in.

I began collecting signatures to get my name on the November 7, 2023 ballot in early April of 2022. With an emphasis on being elected as our city’s next mayor, I spent 18 months advocating for everyday people and neighborhoods just as I have for nearly 40 years. Having been on the ballot 5 previous times over the last 28 years, I was fully aware what I was up against. Not only was I running against the FCDP machine, but the Columbus establishment and The Columbus Way.

Initially, I thought the media would pay more attention to the mayor’s race. But the timing of state Issues One and Two took precedence. I sent out over 3 dozen Press Releases during the campaign. And most of our local media (a part of the establishment), particularly the networks, provided minimal coverage of my race. And this was only after numerous complaints by supporters to network officials. Most of the TV coverage came during the last month of the election. NBC 4’s coverage was pitiful. The Columbus Metropolitan Club who always hosts mayoral debates, was bought off by Ginther and his campaign while refusing to host a debate. And as most of you know, Ginther refused to debate me. The Columbus Dispatch provided the best overall and balanced coverage. I could go on about post-election thoughts but will hold off on my comments for another day.

As I have publicly stated, we as citizens must challenge incumbent office holders and those who are the darlings and puppets of our political parties. Particularly the FCDP in Columbus which is controlled by local political leaders, developers and The Columbus Partnership. As a candidate, you are provided with a platform to voice your policy and how you differ from your opponent(s). You give people a choice. You give them hope. You help to continue the fight. You educate citizens on how and why elected officials make their decisions. You allow voters to look beyond what our local media fills your brain with and separate their propaganda with facts and the truth.

I have always run to win. Vote totals have been disappointing at times but I have never felt defeated. When someone politely consuls with me, saying they were sorry I lost, I don’t necessarily feel an individual loss. My loss is for the hundreds of thousands of people in Columbus and the neighborhoods they live in. That they will not receive the representation they deserve. That business will go on as usual. And the people will continue the fight from the outside without a voice from those at city hall. Sorry, but it’s hard for me to be optimistic from what I have seen over the last 4 decades based on how and why decisions are made that impact Columbus residents socially and economically. Regardless, I, like so many others will continue the fight for fairness and justice.

I am truly humbled by the outpouring of support from all of you and so many other people across the city. Phone calls, text messages, emails, personal social media messages from folks I have never met or didn’t know asking for my assistance, hearing people’s concerns and sharing with me their personal problems, those wanting to help in some way with our campaign, lending advice, and providing me with tips. Marching in parades, handing out literature, campaign donations, distributing yard signs, hanging out at festivals, wearing campaign tee shirts, promoting our campaign on social media, … It was overwhelming at times.

A story about my election that was recently published by The Unbossed says it best: “This remarkable feat places his campaign in the annals of Columbus' political history, not just as a testament to his own dedication but as a symbol of grassroots support and the power of a message that resonated deeply with tens of thousands of residents.”

“Though Motil did not win the mayoral seat, the substantial vote count signals a profound message. It represents a community's growing frustration with the status quo and a yearning for leadership that genuinely addresses the needs of all its people. This is a call for a political shift, one that prioritizes vision, courage, and inclusivity.”

There is no denying that this was a truly successful grassroots campaign. Change takes time. But we must collectively continue to make our voices heard. Thank you everyone and enjoy the holidays!



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