Cuyahoga County's corruption and patronage scandals had very little effect on this week's election. The three county Democrats with Republican challengers beat them as soundly as ever.
Incumbent county commissioner Peter Lawson Jones (pictured) defeated Bay Village Mayor Debbie Sutherland, even though she made the scandals her top issue.
Compare Barack Obama's vote totals in Cuyahoga County to the local races:
Barack Obama (D) 441,836 68%
John McCain (R) 196,369 30%
Peter Lawson Jones (D) 341,976 62%
Deborah Sutherland (R) 206,319 38%
Lillian J. Greene (D) 351,454 70%
Cathy Luks (R) 151,438 30%
Bill Mason (D) 402,366 74%
Annette Butler (R) 142,227 26%
How many people who voted for Obama split their tickets to vote for Sutherland? About 6 percent of the electorate. Sutherland got more votes in Cuyahoga County than McCain, a sign her arguments made some impact, but not nearly enough to break up Democrats' one-party rule.
It's also a sign of Jones' popularity and reputation. Voters knew he is not implicated in the FBI probe. Sutherland's best argument against him was that he had not done enough to curb patronage hiring.
What could ever cause Cuyahoga County voters to elect a Republican to county office again? I think the Democratic candidate would have to be facing a felony charge. (A misdemeanor charge isn't enough, we learned in 2004.)
This doesn't end the debate over the problems in county government. It just shifts it away from the ballot box. The Cuyahoga reform commission's recommendation is due tomorrow. And the FBI probe continues. Indictments of elected officials would cause big change fast.