Stephanie Zader

Mansfield City Council at-large member Stephanie Zader checks her phone for updated results Tuesday night during an election night gathering at the Dan Lew Exchange. Zader defeated fellow Republican Dr. Christopher Beale in the race to represent the party in the November general election. In the background is Richland County Commissioner Cliff Mears, a former City Council member.

MANSFIELD -- Stephanie Zader said Tuesday night that being forced to run and win a primary campaign for Mansfield City Council has prepared her for November.

"I think it's a great thing to have a primary (opponent)," Zader said after she defeated fellow Republican, Dr. Christopher Beale, in the race to keep her at-large seat on council.

"My name is already out there. I have already done fundraising, bought advertising, had events and been campaigning. So I think it's absolutely a good thing," Zader said.

Zader, a local Realtor and entrepreneur who was appointed by local Republican leadership to complete an unexpired term, brushed aside the oral surgeon's challenge, earning 65 percent of the vote.

According to final, unofficial totals from the Richland County Board of Elections, Zader received 375 votes, compared to 205 for Beale, who was making his first run for elected office.

The total of 637 votes represented 16.29 percent of the eligible GOP voters in the city. The race between Zader and Beale was the only contested primary in the city.

Zader advances to take on Democrat Sammie Dunn in November. Dunn represented the city's 4th Ward on City Council from 2011 to 2014.

Zader, who gathered with friends, family and other Republican elected officials at Dan Lew Exchange to await election results Tuesday night, said she would enjoy the win -- and then get back to work.

"I would love to say I am relieved tonight," she said. "But tomorrow starts the campaign for the general election. This primary election is just one piece."

She said the general election campaign will be more of the same in her efforts.

"I think effort will be a big determining factor in November. The amount of effort you put in and the amount of money you raise are the two biggest things in the campaign.

"I am excited to continue serving on council and I will continue to try to make people happy," said Zader, who ran unsuccessfully for a 6th Ward council seat in 2019.

She said the at-large campaign was different.

"I really had to get out and talk to more people. The number of people you represent in an at-large seat is so much larger. I feel like I have 48,000 bosses," she said with a laugh.

Zader said residents told her they want to see more positive change in the city -- and they want a local government that listens to their concerns.

"People feel like government is untouchable," she said. "That's probably the biggest thing I heard. And I get that. That's why I got involved and decided to run. They don't feel like their voices are being heard," Zader said.

"There are improvements in the city, but if you don't venture outside of your own neighborhood, you don't necessarily see it," she said. "I rarely take the same streets when I go somewhere.

"I see a lot of the things happening. I see when a new building is going up or an old one is coming down. I try to remind people there is life outside of your neighborhood," Zader said.

The Zader-Dunn contest will be one of four Mansfield City Council races on the November ballot. Others will be:

1st Ward --Democrat Joshua Koehler, 1386 Robinhood Lane, vs. Republican Laura Burns, 1329 Beechdale Drive.

3rd Ward -- Democrat Jon Van Harlingen, 918 Linden Circle West, vs. Republican Eleazer Akuchie, 136 Dawson Ave.

5th Ward -- Democrat Aurelio Diaz, 32 N. Walnut St., vs. Republican Jason Lawrence, 166 W. 4th St.

All six of these candidates were unopposed on Tuesday's primary ballot.


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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"