A tale of two Johnsons

February 5, 2013

Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Unless something changes at the Scioto County Board of Elections office, the city of Portsmouth will have two Councilmen named Kevin Johnson the next time around.

Incumbent First Ward City Councilman Kevin W.W. Johnson filed his petitions for reelection Tuesday afternoon, alongside Kevin E. Johnson, seeking the Third Ward seat, as Beth Malone walked them through the paperwork.

Up to Tuesday afternoon, Johnson and Johnson were the only two candidates who had filed for election in two of the three wards up for grabs in the upcoming election.

“The first thing he (Kevin E. Johnson) said was, ‘I hope I don’t hurt you,’” Kevin W.W. Johnson said. “And I said, ‘That’s not the point. I hope I don’t hurt you.’”

Kevin E. Johnson said seeking the Third Ward seat is a natural move for him.

“I have lived in this area most of my life, and I believe that sometimes people need to give back,” Kevin E. Johnson said. “This community has been wonderful to me. I love my neighborhood. I love the entire city, but I just want to give back. I want to work hard. I would like to make some positive changes to our neighborhood and to our city.”

Kevin W.W. Johnson said the two have become friends over the years.

“Kevin (E.) and I have known each other for ten years, since Paul (Johnson) and I opened the Emporium,” Kevin W.W. Johnson said. “He hasn’t hesitated to pick up the phone and ask me about Council decisions; what we’re doing, more from an inquisitive standpoint, but sometimes from a dumbfounded standpoint, like - ‘What were they doing? What were they doing?’” So I’m delighted, when Kevin (E.) called and indicated he would be running.”

Neither candidate had heard of two candidates with the same name ever being elected to offices in the city of Portsmouth.

“I have never heard of it happening before, but maybe I can borrow some of Councilman (Kevin W.W.) Johnson’s signs and save some money,” Kevin E. Johnson said.

Kevin E. Johnson said there are several things he is looking forward to as a Third Ward Councilman.

“This weekend, my wife, Angela and I were able to go out and canvass the neighborhoods, and it was exciting meeting the neighbors,” Kevin E. Johnson said. “Some of the neighbors we hadn’t met; some we had. It was exciting just to interact with others and talk to them about what they see for our city and what they think needs to happen. I’m really looking forward to being able to work with other Council members. I really believe in this area. To take a quote from a long time ago, ‘Our best days aren’t past us yet,’ and I believe we can make a lot of positive changes.”

Kevin W.W. Johnson said the most fun he got from walking his ward was getting feedback from how people perceived his first three years in office.

“I can tell you, it was positive, and I just felt honored that people thought I was doing a good job for them,” Kevin W.W. Johnson said.

The Fifth Ward is also going through an election on this cycle, and Board of Elections Deputy Director Teresa Knittel said she expects newly-named Fifth Ward Councilman Gene Meadows to file today (Wednesday), the final day to file. It is also possible that someone else could file in the Fifth Ward today, though she had no indication that would happen. Other candidates, including Third Ward incumbent Nick Basham, could conceivably file in the First and Third Wards today as well.

Knittel said all petitions would be certified at the next Board Of Elections meeting on Feb. 26 at 4 p.m.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com.