The county executive race is heading into November, but tonight we can already start to see the county council majority take shape.
Four longtime public officials, all Democrats, are off to big leads. State Sen. Dale Miller and Parma council president Chuck Germana seem to have their districts out west locked up, based on the vote-by-mail results. So do former Cleveland judge C. Ellen Connally and South Euclid councilwoman Sunny Simon out east. (Here's a map of the districts.)
They'll all be huge favorites in the general election and likely among the most politically experienced members of the new council. My bet is one of the four will be the council president.
A fifth political veteran may join them. Former state Sen. Dan Brady leads Chris Ronayne, 49% to 40%, in early results. If Brady holds that lead and beats the University Circle president, it'll be a huge victory for old-time populism and name recognition (Brady's been on the ballot on Cleveland's West Side many times) over youth, New-Democrat charm and campaign cash.
On Cleveland's East Side, Yvonne Conwell, wife of Cleveland councilman Kevin Conwell, and Pernel Jones, Jr., who's run twice for the city council, hold leads. The race in District 10 (Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, Bratenahl, Collinwood) is neck-and-neck between newcomers Sharon Cole and Julian Rogers.
In all four of those districts, the Democratic winner tonight will probably win the November election too. (Way more Democrats than Republicans voted in the primaries there.)
That leaves three districts in the outer-ring suburbs where the two parties look pretty evenly matched in November -- three chances for Republicans to put an end to one-party government.