IRONTON Ironton’s mayor-elect rolled up a landslide victory Tuesday, but the shadow of a lawsuit continues to hover over the win.
Sam Cramblit gathered 72 percent of the votes to incumbent Katrina Keith’s 28 percent — 2055 votes to 816 — based on unofficial vote totals from the Lawrence County Board of Elections.
However, Keith last week filed a lawsuit questioning his residency and seeking to block counting of his votes. Keith on Wednesday would not rule out pursuing the suit. “I’m meeting with an attorney to see what the next steps are in whether I should or can pursue it,” Keith said.
Cramblit said he is not worried. “I spoke with some counsel from Columbus who specialize in these kind of cases, and I’m confident it will not be successful,” he said.
Cramblit is not named in the suit filed against the Lawrence County Board of Elections, but it claims he has not been a city resident long enough to qualify for the ballot, according to the Ironton Tribune, which first reported the suit.
The lopsided margin speaks for itself, according to Cramblit. “I’m extremely humbled and thankful for all the people who came out last night to support our vision for Ironton . . . it says they want change. We also flipped three council seats as well,” he said.
The three new council members elected, Chris Haney, Jacob Hock and Mike Pierce, all are aligned to his vision, he said.
Cramblit also opposed the income tax increase on Tuesday’s ballot; the tax hike was defeated in numbers even more lopsided than his own — 76 percent to 24 percent, or 2,172 votes to 701, according to unofficial vote totals.
Ironton needs more revenue but raising income taxes and adding more fees is not the answer, Cramblit said. Rather, the answer lies in economic development, with the city’s mayor and council taking the lead, he said.
That does not mean shunning the Lawrence Economic Development Corp., the county’s economic development arm, but it does mean focusing on the city, he said.
Keith acknowledged the scale of Cramblit’s landslide but stopped short of taking the lawsuit off the table. “The people voted and I hope this young man can live up to the promises he’s made,” she said. “(But) I believe in Ironton and we’ve got to uphold the charter and the laws of the community.”
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