Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Incumbents Sifting the Classifieds in Ohio

By: Julie Hartz

It was a rough night for incumbents across the region on primary Tuesday. More than a half dozen county officials were defeated by primary opponents. So come next year, they will have to get back out in the job market and join the thousands of Americans looking for a new one.

Ron Nichols and Thomas Hamman

Ross County
In Ross County, the Sheriff's website will have to be changed in a few months. 12-year incumbent Sheriff Ron Nichols was the victim of a huge upset when his opponent, Thomas Hamman, beat him with 7,076 votes versus Nichols' 5,567.

This was a big win for Hamman, who had already held the position of Ross County Sheriff from 1977 until 1992. Nichols faced a lot of scrutiny the past couple of years after theJohn Parsons escape from the Ross County Jail in 2006. The two candidates had differing opinions on the security of the jail, and Hamman based much of his campaigning on the Parsons escape.

Noble County
Noble County had two upsets primary night. In the race for Prosecuting Attorney, Republican incumbent Robert Watson lost to Cliff Sickler by more than 300 votes. The final tallies came out as 926 votes for Watson to Sickler's 1271. Another disappointment came for County Commissioner Charlie Cowgill. He lost to Republican Gary Rossiter by a slightly larger margin, 1424 votes to Cowgill's 833.

Democrat Laina Fetherolf-Jordan

Hocking County
Over to Hocking County, where Democratic challenger Laina Fetherolf-Jordan beat incumbent County Prosecutor Larry Beal by more than 1,300 votes. Beal came under fire last year when he faced a lawsuit asking him to leave office.

Perry County
In Perry County, Lloyd Harley won the Republican nomination in one of the commissioner races. Harley beat out incumbent Thad Cooperrider 1,849 votes to 1,657 for the spot.

Washington County
And another incumbent will be looking for a new job, after November, in Washington County. Republican Steven Weber beat incumbent John Grimes for the County Commissioner nomination. Both republicans put in more than 30 years of community service in Washington County.

Athens County
Challenger Pat Kelly defeated sheriff incumbent Vernon Castle in Athens County by about 1,000 votes. Sheriff Castle had applied to have Kelly removed from the ticket for eligibility reasons, but that request was clearly denied.

Now one heated race in Athens actually had the incumbent winning over his opponent by a large margin. County Prosecutor Dave Warren is staying in office after getting 7,459 votes over his opponent Susan Gwinn who ended up with 5,006. Warren was in the county courthouse last night and spoke about Gwinn’s tough campaign against him.

“My opponent could spend all of her fortune on negative ads and untruthful statements, but the great voters saw through her deceptive and negative campaign and gave our campaign a resounding victory… and all I can say is, I’m still standing,” Warren said.

The local primary results continue the push for change Ohians started two years ago in the Governor's mansion and on Capitol Hill.

No comments: