Twenty candidates, five issues to make March ballot

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 3, 2004

When Lawrence Countians go to the polls in March, they will see something they don't usually see: a bigger-than-usual ballot.

It is commonplace, even in Lawrence County primaries, for each political party to have just one candidate from which to choose in each race.

The deadline for filing to run for office in the March primary was Friday.

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While some incumbents will run unopposed this year, other races have two and three candidates of a single party seeking the nod from voters. Lawrence County Board of Elections Director Mary Wipert said she thinks many people considered running this time since three long-time officeholders, Clerk of Courts Dale Burcham, County Recorder Sue Deeds and County Treasurer Kenneth Howell, have chosen to retire. It is the clerk of courts and recorder's races that appear to have generated the most interest.

"I've never seen this many opponents in a party (primary) race," Wipert said. "Maybe we have one or two but never this many. Usually parties will try to get just one candidate, and not have them fighting each other because sometimes that causes hard feelings."

Deputy Director Ella Lawless said usually, the races that draw this many candidates are school board and township races, not county-wide races.

Many people picked up petitions for the various offices but opted not to complete the process by turning in the paperwork by the Friday deadline. Most candidates filed their petitions well before the board of elections office closed at 4 p.m.

"Party candidates usually don't wait that late (to file to run)," Lawless said. "A lot of people think if they get their name on the ballot early, no one will run against them."

Wipert said she expects that, come March, the voter turnout for the primary election will be a little heavier than normal. Wipert said she thinks the interest in the county races will bring more people to the polls.

"Lawrence County voters will vote in local races and the Democrats will have a presidential candidate to vote for," Wipert said.

Also, Ironton Municipal Court Judge O. Clark Collins has filed to run for the Ohio Court of Appeals Fourth Appellate District that comprises 14 southern Ohio counties including Lawrence, Scioto, Pike, Ross, Athens, Gallia and Meigs counties. Collins is one of five republicans seeking his party's nomination for the bench. The other republican contenders are Matt McFarland, Milt Nuzum, Fred J. Crowe III

and Robert Driscoll. The winner will face lone Democrat Douglas J. Bennett in the general election.

In addition there are five local issues on the ballot.

South Point School District voters will decide the fate of a

4.91-mill bond issue and 1-mill tax levy to pay for school construction, renovation and improvements.

Four fire levies are also on the ballot: Chesapeake residents will vote on a 1.5-mill fire levy renewal; the Perry Township Fire Department is seeking approval of a 1-mill replacement levy; both Windsor and Elizabeth township fire departments are asking voters to approve additional 1-mill levies for their departments. All of the fire levies are for five years.

Those who have filed to run are:

County Commission

(term 1/2)

Jason C. Stephens, Republican (incumbent)

Mark A. Malone, Democrat

Wayne Pennington, Democrat

County Commission

(term 1/3)

George R. Patterson, Democrat (incumbent)

Kenneth B. Ater, Republican


J.B. Collier Jr., Republican

No Democrat filed to run; therefore, Collier faces no opposition in either the primary or general election.

Clerk of Courts

Bob Blankenship, Democrat

Les Boggs, Republican

Cheryl Jenkins, Republican

Kenton R. Jordan, Republican

John W. Smith, Republican

Kenneth W. Wolfe, Republican


Timothy W. Sexton, Republican (incumbent)

Russell E. Bennett, Jr., Democrat

County Recorder

David Classing, Democrat

Sharon Gossett Hager, Republican

Harriet J. Scragg, Republican

County Treasurer

Rod Depriest, Republican

Stephen Dale Burcham, Democrat

County Engineer

David R. Lynd, Republican (incumbent)

No Democrat filed to run, therefore, Lynd faces no opposition in either the general or primary election.

County Coroner

A. Burton Payne, Republican.

No Democrat filed to run; therefore, Payne faces no opposition in either the primary or general election.