North Pickaway County may have helped Hafey take sheriff’s seat

North Pickaway County may have helped Hafey take sheriff’s seat

by Craig Lovelace

The election for Pickaway County sheriff on Nov. 3 stunned a lot of people as political newcomer Republican Matthew Hafey presumably defeated incumbent Democrat Sheriff Robert Radcliff by 262 votes.

The race, and all the other races on the ballot, won’t get certified until Nov. 20 by the Pickaway County Board of Elections. As of now, the sheriff’s race officially is still too close to call, according to the board. There were 1,178 absentee and provisional ballots that have not been included into the Nov. 3 tally.

If the numbers hold up, county residents will get their second sheriff since 1931 whose last name isn’t Radcliff. Sheriff Radcliff’s father, Dwight served as sheriff from 1964 to 2012, and his grandfather, Charles served between 1931 and 1961.

Republican Matt Hafey, the presumed Pickaway County Sheriff-elect, was aided by a strong showing in the northern part of the county.

While the outcome surprised many, for Sheriff Robert Radcliff, the vote totals coming out of the northern part of the county on election night spelled trouble for his chances at a third term, he has said.

By the end of election night, Hafey, a veteran of the Circleville Police Department, received 13,694 votes to Radcliff’s 13,432.

Some of the precinct numbers and anecdotal data illustrate Radcliff’s observation.

Radcliff, a lifetime Circleville resident – won all 12 of the city precincts by a vote count of 4,262 to Hafey’s 3,027. The total votes coming from those precincts comprised 31 percent of the incumbent sheriff’s countywide vote total. He would go on to win seven more counties while Hafey would take 23 total precincts.

Hafey’s comfort spot was centered in areas that are experiencing greater patterns of residential growth tied to a locale’s proximity to Rickenbacker International Airport and Franklin County where a goodly number of Pickaway Countians work and recreate.

Indeed, the four precincts where Hafey enjoyed his largest vote margin over Radcliff are in the areas stretching north of South Bloomfield, which Hafey also won, to the Franklin County line and incorporating the areas of Commercial Point, Ashville and Madison, Scioto and Harrison townships. 

Pickaway County Auditor Office data shows property transfers this year are most active in the Teays Valley School District, which covers much of that area, when compared with the other three local districts. Nearly 460 property transfers have been recorded this year, with a mean sales price of $270,607. Circleville City School District is second, recording 340 transfers with a $197,000 mean sales price.

Hafey also enjoyed a larger number of voters from whom to seek support.

In the 23 precincts that he won, there were nearly 21,000 registered voters, while Radcliffe’s pool of voters was nearly 15,000 among the precincts where he was victorious.

Hafey also had the edge in turning out voters in the precincts he won. Overall, the turnout averaged 78.65 percent, more than 3 percent higher than Radcliff’s average that topped just beyond 75 percent.

It appears by the data that his hometown did not turn out in enough numbers to combat the edge Hafey had up north. The 12 city precincts averaged a turnout of almost 72 percent of registered voters. Conversely, in the other seven precincts Radcliff won outside of the city, the average reached 80.12 percent.

Largest margin of victory by precinct ballots cast
Robert Radcliff

Circleville 1–C:  +215

Circleville 1­–A:  +164

Circleville 1–B:  +153

Circleville 3–A:  +147

Total: 679 

Matthew Hafey

Ashville North: +263

Scioto North: +172

Madison Township: +156

Harrison Township: +143

Total: 734 

Number of registered voters in candidate’s top-performing precincts / those who voted for:

Robert Radcliff

Circleville 1-A: 1,030 / 863

Circleville 1–B: 686 / 553

Circleville 1–C: 987 / 793

Circleville 3–A: 1,293 / 874

Total: 3,996 registered voters / 3,083 

Matt Hafey

Ashville North: 1,252 / 965

Scioto North: 1,101 / 890

Madison Township: 1,047 / 815

Harrison Township: 963 / 698

Total: 4,363 registered voters / 3,368

Average number of registered voters in precincts candidate won:

Hafey: 889 (23 precincts won)

Radcliff: 817 (19 precincts won)

Average number of votes cast for each candidate spread out over 42 precincts:

Hafey: 326.04

Radcliff: 319.8


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