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Patterson remains Athens mayor following landslide victory against Damon Krane

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Democratic Athens Mayor Steve Patterson will retain his seat after garnering three-fourths of the vote in the race against Independent, self-proclaimed democratic socialist, candidate Damon Krane.

Patterson took the election by storm and received 75.62% of the vote, according to polling results with 99% of precincts reporting.

Krane received 20.81% of the vote.

Krane has been highly critical of Patterson, and their contentious relationship was often on full display at the various forums that took place preceding the election. Krane even went as far as to brand Patterson “your Republican candidate for mayor.”

The two have had very few positive things to say about each other, as demonstrated at a forum.

Patterson will now be slated to serve his second term as mayor of Athens.

“To win by a margin of 75% of the vote really speaks to the populace of the city of Athens,” Patterson said at The Pigskin Bar and Grille, where the Democrats held a post-election celebration.

Patterson continued, emphasizing his success in his first term as Athens mayor.

“The message being sent is that they had the faith in me and my experience as a former City Council member, a former OU faculty member and former Air Force veteran, but I think the citizens of Athens have seen some real positive change in the past four years,” he said.

Krane said he was disappointed by voter turnout at the polls, which was 25.79%. Voter turnout in the uncontested 2015 mayoral election was 36.82%, according to the official results from the Athens County Board of Elections.

“I think that all the new Independent candidates obviously got crushed, but I think the important takeaway is why we got crushed: turnout was just extremely low, and its much lower than I expected it to be,” Krane said.

Krane acknowledged that he and the other Independent candidates did not do well in the polls, but reiterated his belief that voter turnout was a major factor in the demographics represented in the election. He continued, saying this election marked the first time that left-wing populist candidates, who ran as Independents, challenged the Democratic political establishment in Athens.

“To get all the way from zero to victory on election night, it’s hard to do in one election cycle,” Krane said. “So, I’m not shocked we didn’t get there this time around — I am shocked by how low the turnout was.”

Krane said he plans to continue seeking public office. But, in the meantime, he and the other Independent candidates intend to organize at the grassroots level for the issues he campaigned on in this cycle — namely tenants rights.

2,646 voters cast ballots for the mayoral election, reflecting 96.43% of voters who participated in the election.

Emily Crebs and Emily Zeiler contributed to this report.

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