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Primary to be full of races, issues

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:05 PM

In addition to voting for their choice of presidential candidates in the March 4 primary, Huron County voters will choose a Republican candidate for the Fifth District congressional seat in Washington and for one of the county commissioner seats.

Three issues also will appear on the ballot — a referendum on an increase on the real estate property transfer tax, Sunday liquor sales at Eagle Creek and a 1-mill permanent improvement levy for Pioneer Joint Vocational School.

Congressman Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green) just won the  Fifth District congressional seat in December and now two other Republicans are challenging him for the right to represent the party in November — Scott Radcliffe, of Perrysburg, and Michael Reynolds, of Columbus Grove.

"I have been truly blessed and honored by the people of the Fifth Congressional District to represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives,” Latta said. “It is a responsibility and a trust that I take very seriously and I will work to represent them to the utmost of my ability."

Prior to being elected to Congress, Latta served for 11 years in the Ohio legislature, and for six years as a Wood County commissioner.

Radcliffe is an Iraqi war veteran.

“I am running for congress because I am willing to fight for the people of this district and take action when tough choices need to be made,” he said. “People are tired of politics as usual and it’s time we move in a new direction.

 ”Protecting our borders and growing our economy are two of the most important issues, if not the most important,” Radcliffe added. “On these issues and the others that face our communities, I offer bold leadership and conviction. I will strive to unleash Ohio’s potential to lead the nation on alternative energies and promote business to grow the economy.”

The winner of the Republican primary will face George F. Mays, of 6 Minard Place, Norwalk. Mays was a candidate for the Democratic nomination during the special primary election in November, but lost to Robin Weirauch.

“Personally, I’m just compelled to run,” Mays said. “I’m not very happy with the way our country is moving. Fiscal problems are of great concern to me — over $9 million in debt, that doesn’t make me real happy.”

Mays said the district is conservative, but politicians seem to forget what that means in Washington.

“There is a disconnect between what is conservative these days and what is responsible,” he said. “The folks in Washington that call themselves conservative have not been responsible.”

Local voters won’t see any primary battles at the state level. Incumbent Rep. Matt Barrett (D-Amherst) will face Republican challenger Terry Boose, controller for Norwalk Concrete and a former county commissioner, of Norwalk, in November.

Local voters will see only contested race on the primary ballot for county offices.

Commissioner Ralph Fegley, a Republican, chose not to run for a second term. Three other Republicans will try to win the primary contest — Larry Silcox, James Ewell and Charles Furey. The winner faces Democrat Sharon Ward in November.

“I looked at the issues that were facing the county and I felt that we needed someone with some experience in the office,” Silcox said. “I’m the only candidate that has that experience.”

Silcox served as commissioner from 1997 until early 2000, when he resigned to take care of his son after he was diagnosed with a serious illness.

“He’s fine now,” Silcox said.

Ewell, salesman at Don Tester Ford, said he will bring communication and leadership skills to the commission.

“In the last couple of years, I’ve been approached by more people than I can count and asked to run,” Ewell said. “The people of the county are looking for some fresh ideas and some fresh blood. Maybe it is time to think a little outside of the box.

“I feel I’m the person to help lead the county through the next trying conditions because I care about the county,” he said.

Ewell is already putting out one campaign fire. Another newspaper reported that he hung up on their reporter over the weekend. Ewell explained that the newspaper called his father, who mistakenly thought it was the circulation department trying to sell a subscription. The senior Ewell said he wasn’t interested and ended the call.

Charles Furey, a retired banker, said he spent the last 20 years of his career working with businesses.

“I have a wealth of experience in business development,” he said. “We have to continue to help the companies that are here grow and prosper and we have to attract new businesses.”

Furey, who now works part-time as secretary/treasurer for Plumbrook County Club, said counties can work together for development.

“The NASA project is a great opportunity for not only Erie County, but for the surrounding counties,” Furey said. “I can help the county develop economically.”

The winner of the Republican primary will face Democrat Sharon Ward in November. Ward, a financial advisor, ran in the Democratic primary four years ago, but lost to Pat Saunders.

“We’re having a financial crunch at this time and I feel I’m better qualified than most to deal with that,” Ward said. “I’ve been interested in politics for some time.

“I feel I have a lot to offer the county,” she said, including a woman’s perspective.

For the other commissioner seat up for grabs next November, incumbent Republican Gary Bauer is the only candidate to file petitions. Independent candidates have until March 3 to file petitions to be included on the November ballot.

The race for county treasurer will be decided in November. Incumbent Kathleen Schaffer, a Norwalk Democrat, will face Republican challenger William Alford, a banker from rural Monroeville.

The only other contested race in the county now is the sheriff’s seat. Democrat Dane Howard and Republican James Bracken both filed petitions for the seat that will be open when long-time Sheriff Richard Sutherland retires.

Bracken and Howard are both deputies.

All other county races are uncontested at this point with the current officeholders set to keep their seats.

Republican incumbents are Judge Tim Cardwell, probate and juvenile court; Susan Hazel, clerk of courts; and Jeff Harwood, coroner.

Democrat incumbents are Russ Leffler, prosecutor; Joe Kovach, engineer; and Karen Fries, recorder.

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