In a hotly contested race, Ward 9 Councilman Frank Morris appeared to defeat Joe Cole in Tuesday night’s Democratic primary. Meanwhile, Bill Smuckler will return to an at-large council seat.
Ward 9 is where the hottest political action took place in the city. And the winner in the Democratic primary was incumbent Councilman Frank Morris.
The outspoken and feisty councilman won his second term over current at-large Councilman Joe Cole, according to unofficial results late Tuesday night with the Stark County Board of Elections.
Morris garnered more than 50 percent of the vote in Ward 9.
Significant money was poured into the political battle. A contingent of fellow first-term council members — Kevin Fisher, John Mariol and Edmond Mack — backed Morris. One of them served as his campaign manager. All of them went door to door and distributed literature on his behalf.
Morris waited for election results at Mack’s house. “They’ve treated this as if it were their race,” he said of his staunch supporters on council — all Democrats.
Mayor William J. Healy II is a supporter of Cole’s. He won his at-large seat by partnering with Healy and at-large Councilman James Babcock on literature in a previous election.
Also Tuesday, political stalwart Bill Smuckler reclaimed an at-large council seat. A second try for mayor against Healy forced him to vacate his at-large seat.
Canton council has three at-large positions. Joining Smuckler on the Democratic ballot were incumbent James Babcock — second to Smuckler in the at-large vote tally — and Roland Burns III, who is seeking his first term on council.
No Republicans were on the ballot Tuesday for at-large seats. However, independent candidates Ryan Brahler and Richard Hart, a former ward councilman, will be on the fall ballot.
Smuckler saw political allies Morris and Greg Hawk win the primary. Hawk, who represents Ward 1, grabbed around 60 percent of the vote against political newcomer Tim Porter, according to unofficial results.
In the general election, Hawk will face Kevin Destefano, a non-party candidate.
Councilman Thomas West, D-2, easily held onto his seat over Gloria Norris with more than 60 percent of the vote, according to the unofficial results.
West will face independent candidate David George in the November election.