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The following piece of the DKos liveblog needs some expanding:

7:35 PM PT (Darth Jeff): Cincinnati is almost completely in and John Cranley has defeated fellow Democrat Roxanne Qualls 58-42 to become the city's new mayor.

7:37 PM PT (David Jarman): The Cincinnati mayoral race looks like a wrap, with almost all precincts reporting and John Cranley up by 16. (This was a Dem-vs.-Dem fight, which seems a little surprising in what used to be one of the country's most conservative major cities.)

Cincinnati is heavily Democratic, but the two-party system is alive and well here. Municipal elections are nonpartisan, and while Qualls had the backing of the popular outgoing mayor, Mark Mallory, and the city's progressives, John Cranley was the darling of the city's blue-blooded business establishment (which includes Fortune 500 heavies like Kroger, Macy's, Procter & Gamble, and Fifth Third Bank), suburban-based tea party groups like COAST, and other reactionary but influential Dixiecrats like the Luken family and County Auditor Dusty Rhodes. Cranley's fudging, misrepresentations, and outright lies have been repeated verbatim in the local media without fact-checking. In short, Cranley is no Democrat, and it's only due to our inept Hamilton County Democratic organization that he gets to call himself one.

The biggest issue of the campaign was the construction of a modern streetcar system linking downtown with the historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood to the north. Local tea party groups have latched onto the project as a symbol of wasteful spending (despite its projected 3:1 return on investment in the form of new development and associated increases in property tax revenue) and have fought like hell to kill it by floating two ballot initiatives. Both measures would have effectively banned any form of rail transit in the city, and both failed. The streetcar is now under construction.

Mayor-elect John Cranley has already vowed to kill the streetcar project in mid-construction, and he'll have a 6-3 anti-streetcar majority on city council to do it. Look for years of litigation, and for Cincinnati's half-finished subway to be joined by a half-finished streetcar project. Progressive cities around the country are investing in modern streetcar projects, and Cincinnati will be the only one to abandon such a project in mid-construction.

Make no mistake: Cranley may be a Democrat on paper, but in this election he has proudly aligned himself with Republican and tea party groups, and welcomed their support and their money with open arms.

A final note: Voter turnout in Cincinnati is said to have been about 28%, the lowest since 1975. That's beyond pathetic. Those who couldn't be bothered to vote will get the city they deserve, and my heart breaks for my hometown. Cincinnatians have slammed the brakes on eight years of progress under Mayor Mallory, and the city will soon be represented at all levels of government by tea party officials.


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