Primary match-ups more clear after filing deadline

Voters in Butler and Warren counties will have decisions to make in primary races.

Wednesday was the deadline for most 2014 candidates to file with the Board of Elections, and for cities, schools and other agencies to put levies or issues on the May 6 ballot. Voters in Fairfield, Middletown, Liberty Twp. and other cities will vote on levies May 6, and residents across the region will see partisan primaries for county and statehouse races.

Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, the incumbent in the 51st Ohio House District race, will have two political opponents familiar with elections running for his House seat.

Greg Jolivette, a former state representative and county commissioner, is seeking to head back to Columbus. Jolivette had attempted to run for the seat in 2012 but a filing mistake cost him a chance to be on the March 2012 primary ballot. He was also denied to run as an independent in the November 2012 general election against Retherford.

Arnold Engel, who had ran for this seat in 2010 as a Democrat when it was known as the 54th House District, is now attempting to win the seat as a Republican. Engel is running because Retherford was unresponsive to legislation he wanted introduced.

The winner of this GOP race will face in November Democrat Michelle DeCresce, of Fairfield, who is running uncontested.

Retherford said part of his strategy to be re-elected will be to tout his record in the Statehouse.

“I have a pretty excellent record of accomplishments that I can run on,” Retherford said.

And although his opponents are well-known in Butler County, that’s not always a good thing, he said.

“You have two guys who have switched parties for no other reason other than to run,” he said.

“When I get a call from someone in the 51st House District for help, it is clear to me that no one knows who their current state representative is,” Jolivette said. “There has been a disconnect with the current representative and the district.”

Jolivette, the owner of Jolly’s restaurant, said he knows “how to keep taxes low while making our environment friendly to job creation.”

“Our hard working citizens deserve that kind of leadership,” he said. “Most of all, I have always been very responsive to the people.”

“It’s time that the tax payers, the citizens have someone representing them,” said Engel, a former Fairfield school board member. “I’m the person that stands for the people.”

Engel said his switch from Democrat to Republican is based on his views.

“I believe my views are a lot more conservative than most Democrats,” Engel said. “There are a lot of Republicans that are not going to like my conservative views, especially when it comes to school spending.”

Other contested races include:

  • Butler County Common Pleas Judge: Michael Oster, Ben Manning and Ronald James are running in the GOP primary for the seat being vacated by retiring Judge Michael Sage
  • Warren County Commission: Incumbent Commissioner Tom Ariss will face former Mason mayor Tom Grossmann and Lebanon resident Cathy Anspach
  • Warren County Auditor: Matt Nolan, of Lebanon, and Staci Morris, Clearcreek Twp. will vie for the GOP nomination for the office that’s been held by the retiring Nick Nelson for nearly 30 years
  • Warren County Common Pleas Judge: Incumbent Judge Robert Peeler will face local challengers Andrew Sievers and Benjamin Yoder. The winner of this GOP race will face Democrat Craig Newburger and Libertarian Roger Stanton in November.
  • Ohio House Districts: Incumbent Margy Conditt will face fellow Republican Joseph Ebbing, of Fairfield Twp., for the 52nd Ohio House District seat. The winner will face Liberty Twp. Democrat Cathina Hourani in November. Incumbent Rep. Ron Maag will face challenges by David Craig, of Maineville, and Ben Goldman, of Waynesville, for the 62nd House District; incumbent Rep. Pete Beck will face challenges by Mason residents Mary Jo Kubicki and Paul Zeltwanger for the 54th House District. Both races will appear on GOP ballots in Warren County. Democrats Charlene Schneider, of Maineville, and Rick Smith, of Mason, will run uncontested in the 62nd and 54th House Districts, respectively.
  • Ohio Senate: Incumbent Sen. Shannon Jones, of Springboro, will be challenged by fellow Republican Kelly Kohls, of Springboro. Democrats Allen James, of Franklin, and Greg Meek, of Springboro, look to face off in the Democratic primary

Issues that will be on the May ballot include:

  • Fairfield City Schools: A 2.1-mill bond issue and 0.5-mill continuing property tax levy
  • Middletown City Schools: A 4-mill bond issue and .26-mill continuing property tax levy
  • Liberty Twp.: 3-mill renewal of its police levy
  • Two local alcohol options: Eaton Market and The Shop at Main
  • Franklin City Schools: 7.92-mill emergency operating levy
  • Clinton Massie Fire Department: 3-mill additional tax levy
  • Waynesville Village: 1 percent income tax levy for 5 years

All petitions, either for a local race or local issue, must be certified by the Butler or Warren county boards of elections by Feb. 18, according to the Ohio Secretary of State. Butler County will meet Feb. 14 to certify all filed petitions that have not yet been certified. Warren County’s next meeting is Feb. 11.

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