Monday, February 18, 2002

Primary: Deadline near for May 7 slate

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        So far, the May 7 primary election slate looks pretty slim in Hamilton, Butler, Warren and Clermont counties.

        Less than a week before candidates' filing deadline, hardly any of the elected offices on the ballot have more than one candidate from each party. Many have only one candidate, period.

        But election officials aren't concerned. They say they're expecting a lot of candidates to file their petitions close to the deadline, which is 4 p.m. Thursday.

        “It is not unusual for us to receive a high level of activity near the actual deadline date,” said Dan Bare, director of the Clermont County Board of Elections.

        Hamilton County has no contested party battles in the primary so far.

        The only race involving Hamilton County with more than one candidate at this point is the 35th District Ohio House race, with Democrat Leroy Hopkins Jr. trying to unseat Republican incumbent Michelle Schneider. That newly formed district covers northeastern Hamilton County and eastern Warren County.

        No one has filed yet for the Hamilton County commissioner's seat that will be vacated by Tom Neyer, who is not running for re-election.

        In Butler County, Democrat Arnold Engel is the only candidate for a House seat who has filed petitions so far. He will be running against Republican incumbent Greg Jolivette.

        Butler County Commissioner Courtney Combs and Butler County Auditor Kay Rogers, both Republicans, are running for re-election, but no opponents have filed petitions yet.

        “We are still searching for candidates for auditor and commissioner,” said Tim Wurst, secretary of the Butler County Democratic Party's executive committee and communications director.

        Ronald Craft and Terri King have filed for the Republican nomination for a new Butler County Juvenile Court judgeship.

        Republicans Craig Hedric, Bennett Manning, Andy Nastoff and Charles Pater have taken out petitions for Butler's new Common Pleas Judge seat. None has filed them yet.

        The Butler County Republican Party will be endorsing one of the four candidates Feb. 27. Because the state legislature was late in approving this new judgeship, candidates' filing deadline for this seat is Feb. 28.

        A couple of Warren County races have drawn an unusually high number of potential candidates.

        A trio of newcomers — two Republicans and a Democrat — are considering taking on longtime County Commissioner Mike Kilburn.

        Common Pleas Judge P. Daniel Fedders' coming retirement also has prompted a flurry of interest in that job. Domestic Relations Judge James Flannery has filed petitions for common pleas judge, and County Court Judges James Heath and Dallas Powers have taken out petitions. All are Republicans.

        Eight candidates have taken out petitions for the newly drawn 3rd U.S. House District, which includes northern Warren County, Clinton and Highland counties and most of Montgomery County. None, however, has filed yet, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

        Several incumbents, however — all Republicans — have no competition yet in Warren County:

        • Freshman state Rep. Tom Raga.

        • Juvenile Judge Mike Powell.

        • County Auditor Nick Nelson.

        Four candidates have filed for four races — commissioner, auditor, juvenile court judge and state representative — that will be on the ballot in Clermont County's primary.

        David R. Caudill, currently the Clermont County Clerk of Courts, and Scott Croswell have filed for the Republican nomination for a commissioner's seat. Incumbent Martha Dorsey is not running for re-election.

        Mr. Croswell, a lawyer, is the son of the late Robert Croswell, who had been a county commissioner.

        No one has filed yet for the Clermont County auditor's seat.

        Clermont County Juvenile Court Judge Stephanie Wyler has filed for re-election.

        In the 66th House District, Republican incumbent Jean Schmidt has filed petitions, but no opponents have filed yet.

        Reporter Cindi Andrews contributed to this report.


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