Taylor Sappington

Taylor Sappington. Provided photo.

NELSONVILLE — Nelsonville’s own Taylor Sappington is running for Ohio Auditor of State.

“We’ve all been paying for the corruption and games of the politicians in this state who forgot their roots, long ago,” Sappington said in a press release shared by the Ohio Democratic Party. “They lost something along the way — and for them it’s gone forever. But we can change all of that. We can take back our state. We can be the leaders that inspire the next generation.”

Sappington is running as a Democrat to challenge Republican incumbent Keith Faber in the Nov. 8 election. Sappington faces an uphill battle; a Democrat has not won election to state auditor since 1990.

“The auditor’s certainly looking forward to a second term,” said Faber’s Campaign Manager Alex Bilchak. “It’s certainly been an honor to have the opportunity to serve over the last three years. He’s done an incredible amount of work, and his team has built a pretty good system. It’s definitely showing results for Ohioans.”

30-year-old Sappington has served in multiple positions in his hometown government, first as a council member and currently as city auditor.

Sappington is the son of a single mother who raised him in a “trailer on a hillside,” according to the Ohio Democratic Party’s release. He attended and graduated from Nelsonville-York City Schools and put himself through college at Ohio University.

Sappington’s announcement cited several accomplishments from his time as a public official in Nelsonville.

On city council, Sappington’s first legislative accomplishment was a resolution to mandate balanced budget proposals from city administration, the release said.

As city auditor, Sappington immediately began pursuing an investigation into former Deputy Auditor Stephanie Wilson, which proved to be the largest theft and fraud bust in Nelsonville’s history. Sappington also worked to ensure that the City of Nelsonville did not have to foot the bill for penalties related to Wilson’s theft.

Sappington’s campaign rollout has emphasized the issue of corruption. As The Columbus Dispatch reported, Sappington’s campaign has implied “that Faber has inadequately investigated the Akron-based First Energy corruption scandal that has embroiled the Ohio Republican Party.”

Bilchak said Faber has a strong record on corruption, noting that the office has investigated and convicted 74 public officials during Faber’s first term.

Sappington’s campaign announcement also emphasized his performance as city auditor regarding Nelsonville’s overall financial health. The city’s audited financial report for 2020 showed a more than $5.8 million increase in the city’s net position and notable increases in city fund balances. The city has also returned to a financial surplus under Sappington.

“When I became City Auditor, Nelsonville was in the red,” Sappington said in the Ohio Democratic Party release. “Today, we are in the black with a $1 million surplus and the community is growing stronger every day. I will take this same can-do spirit and inspired leadership to Columbus.”

As city auditor, Sappington also organized his constituents to conduct a recount of the 2020 census, narrowly preserving Nelsonville’s status as a city.

Nelsonville City Manager Scott Frank praised Sappington’s work as city auditor.

“I’m excited for Taylor,” Frank said in a text message. “I think he’s going to do an outstanding job. When he gets in office, he’s going to stir a lot of s--t, and hurt the feelings of those who aren’t doing the right thing.”

Via campaign representative Jordan Kelley, Sappington declined to speak to the Messenger for this story, with Kelley citing Sappington’s busy schedule.

Asked whether Sappington would be available any time later this week, Kelley said he would have to check with Sappington but again emphasized that Sappington is busy rolling out his campaign.

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