Cost only hope for Democrats to get a seat on all-Republican Newark City Council

Spencer Barker

Bill CostBill Cost

Bill Cost

Dustin NeelyDustin Neely

Dustin Neely

Brad ChuteBrad Chute

Brad Chute

NEWARK − Bill Cost is the only hope for Democrats to break through the Republican strangle-hold on Newark City Council and, indeed, all of city government.

Cost, who served on council from 2012 to 2019, lost in the 2019 and 2021 elections for a council at-large seat. Republicans won the last 12 council races covering the last two city elections, including all eight in 2021, and occupy every council seat.

Republicans Spencer Barker, Dustin Neely and Brad Chute join Cost in the election of three council at-large members. All three Republicans started on council following party appointments.

Barker, originally appointed to replace Mark Fraizer in January 2020, defeated Cost and independent Daniel Crawford in the 2021 election to complete Fraizer’s unexpired term.

Republicans appointed Chute in May to fill the at-large vacancy created when Cheri Hottinger left council for a state position.

Neely, already a candidate for the at-large seat, received the party appointment in August to replace Jeff Harris, who became council president.

Prior to Republicans sweeping the last two council elections, Newark voters spread their support almost evenly, with Democrats winning 19 elections and Republicans winning 20 elections from 2005-2017. After the 2015 election, council’s regular voting members were split 5-5.

The Advocate sent questionnaires to the four at-large candidates. Their answers follow.


Brad Chute

Age: 43

Occupation: Funeral director

Experience: Current At-Large Council Member; Local business and community involvement for 20 years; and Non Profit/Association Leadership.


Bill Cost:

Age: 68

Occupation: Professional photographer


Business Owner-Bill Cost Jr. Photography 1976-Present Time

Served as Member of Newark City Council-Two Terms 2011-2019

Served as Member of Licking County Transit Board-3 Years 2020-2022

Served as Member 0f Licking County Coalition for Housing-3 Years 2020-2022

Member of Newark/Licking County Chamber of Commerce

Member of Newark Rotary Member of First United Methodist Church of Newark


Dustin Neely:

Age: 42

Occupation: Independent insurance advisor


In 2016, I was awarded the “Colonel Thomas Rice Leadership Award”, which goes to one Sergeant inside the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

I was named as one of the Newark Advocate’s “20 Under 40” honorees in 2020.

I have been a member of the Licking County Republican Party’s Executive Committee since 2021.

In August 2023, I was appointed to fill a vacant City Council At-Large seat, which I still hold.



Twitter: @kmallett1958

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Cost only hope for Democrats to get a seat on Newark City Council


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