A write-in candidate in Rose Hill’s mayoral race apparently bested the incumbent by about 60 votes Tuesday.
According to vote totals from the Butler County election office, Rose Hill City Councilman Jason Jones received 331 votes, while current Mayor Mark Conway received 274. The office is not declaring a winner until Monday, though, when vote canvassing is complete.
Jones, a 34-year-old local business owner who ran a write-in campaign in the town of about 4,000, has served on the City Council for two years. He faced an unopposed Conway, who has been mayor since 2005 and served two years on the council.
Jones, a lifelong Rose Hill resident, said those who supported his push to end tax abatements on new homes asked him to run against Conway. But the filing deadline had already passed, so he agreed to accept write-in votes.
After about 100 small signs and a few banners supporting Jones popped up around town, residents started dropping by his auto shop, Red Line Auto Repair, to discuss his platform.
Eventually, buzz over the councilman’s campaign was communitywide, he said.
“I knew that support would push me to do 100 percent for them,” said Jones, who received the votes even after making a pre-election admission on Facebook that he still owes $1,200 in property taxes on his home.
Conway said he expects the election office to declare Jones the winner and that those who cast ballots Tuesday included a group determined to vote him out of office because it disagreed with his methods to grow the city.
“I’m very proud of what we accomplished,” said Conway, a 25-year Rose Hill resident, citing updates to infrastructure and community growth as among the successes of his terms.
“We’ll hold our heads high. We did a lot for our community.”
When asked how he felt about his apparent win, Jones said: “I’m so happy the residents of Rose Hill came together. It (the write-in campaign) united this entire town to stand up for what they believe would be the best for the city.”