Some Grandview residents have interactions with local public officials, and wonder just how a person ends up an elected council member or board seat holder. A much smaller number actively try to run for office. How does that work in Grandview Heights?
Brandon Lynaugh decided he needed to try for the city council during the fall 2015 election. He didn’t win, but got a valuable lesson is what is needed to run for a public office. I asked him questions about that run.
Making the decision to run
J.W.: How did you come up with the idea of running?
Brandon Lynaugh : There were a lot of factors that led me to run for GH city council. First and foremost it was a desire to serve a community that my family and I have a deep appreciation for. Like a lot of folks in Grandview, we originally came because of the school system. Over the last decade we’ve come to appreciate the community even more and I wanted to do my part to give back to it.
While the desire to serve should be at the core of anyone’s decision to run for local office, I was also driven by an interest to give the community a choice in who represents them. I’ve lived here a decade and never once had a candidate for local office knocked on my door. It’s no real surprise as the previous two elections for council were entirely uncontested. No need to campaign when you don’t have any competition I guess? That bothered me.
And finally, I thought I had a background and approach that would be an asset to council. It wasn’t to stroke an ego or to set up some future race for higher office as sometimes is the case with local campaigns. I recognized that if elected, I was there to represent the interests of the entire community as best I could and I was excited by that challenge.
J.W. Did people contact you to encourage you to run?
B.L.: I probably have talked about it with friends and neighbors for a couple years, but nothing too serious. It wasn’t until I worked on the last school levy campaign did I start to think I might make a go of it. But the final decision came after a porch visit by a longtime friend/neighbor. I’ve told a lot of people that it was a combination of civic pride and a little red wine.
J.W.: Was the paperwork easy? How did the petition to be placed on the ballot go?
B.L.: The process can be a bit tedious. Depending on whether you intend to raise/spend campaign funds the first thing you need to do is file a designation of treasurer with the Franklin County Board of Elections. You’ll then need to collect fifty valid signatures from registered voters in Grandview Heights. I think I collected about one hundred to be safe. Every year there are stories of candidates that fail to make the ballot because of errors with their petitions. The Board of Elections does a good job of instructing candidates on the do’s and don’ts, but it was still nerve-racking to turn them in.
Other than getting certified for the ballot, the big paperwork requirements are campaign finance reports and an ethics/financial disclosure form that all candidates and elected officials have to fill out. The disclosure form is designed to prevent conflicts of interest. The campaign finance requirements include pre-election and post-election filings of every dollar raised and spent. Sounds like a hassle, but once you get the hang of it it is fine.
Finding the Guru