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5 want to be on county commission

The Democratic Primary for Lawrence County Commission has become a three-way race.

On Wednesday, the filing deadline, former county commissioner Tanner Heaberlin and Julie Pace of Coal Grove, turned in their petitions to face off against Ironton area business man Tim Edwards, who had filed on Friday.

This will be the first attempt at a county office for Edwards and Pace.

“We need some changes,” Edwards said. “The people of Lawrence County are ready for some changes. My big agenda is jobs. The time has passed where we wait for something to fall in our laps. We need to actively recruit. We have a lot of good people in Lawrence County ready to work.”

Heaberlin, currently a South Point High School teacher, was appointed to the county commission by the Democrats in 2007 following the death of longtime commissioner George Patterson.

Heaberlin ran the next year unopposed on the Democratic side facing Les Boggs in the general election. He lost to Boggs receiving 11,837 votes or 45.70 percent of the total. Boggs received 14,062 votes. He also lost in a closer race trying to unseat longtime County Auditor Ray Dutey in 2006.

A call made to Heaberlin was not returned by press time. A call was made to the home phone listing of Pace, which was not answered.

On the Republican side, incumbent Freddie Hayes will face Wayne Taylor in the May primary. This will be Hayes’ second election for his commission seat and his first race for a four-year term. Hayes was appointed to fill the seat of Paul Herrell, who died in February 2012.

“I want to continue with public safety, which I think I have accomplished very well,” Hayes said. “This commission has been very conservative with money. I enjoy the job. I take it very seriously.”

This is the first try at a county office for Taylor, who is Herrell’s son-in-law. The electronics engineer currently is fiscal officer for Aid Township and served on the Symmes Valley Board of Education for eight years.

Taylor declined to comment until after the petitions were certified by the board of elections.

The race for state representative for the 93rd District will be a rematch between incumbent Ryan Smith of Gallia County on the Republican ticket and Jackson County businessman Josh Bailey, a Democrat. The two squared off in 2012 with Smith pulling 58.71 percent of the vote.

However a possible rematch for county auditor won’t happen this fall as County Treasurer Stephen Burcham has decided not to file to run against incumbent Jason Stephens.

“There have been things coming up in my personal life to keep me from running the kind of campaign I would like to run,” Burcham said.

All 84 central committee positions for both parties will be on the ballot in May. On the Democratic side there will be four contested races: Symmes with incumbent James Mitchell facing Johnna Lunsford; Upper 4, incumbent Jeffrey Dillow against Robert McCollister; 1B, incumbent Bill Sheridan against Jerry Brownstead; and 3A incumbent Carolyn Sheridan against Jameson McKnight.

For the Republicans, former Fayette Township Trustee Mike Finley wants to unseat current Fayette Township Trustee Perry Brock on the central committee. Finley lost to Brock and Travis Wise in November 2013 for Fayette Trustee.

Committee members will be chosen by the voters in the May primary.