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What candidates for notable Butler County offices can do to win in May

The May 8 primary will feature only a few contested races for offices, including two for GOP voters to decide this spring.

And the winners of the 51st Ohio House District and Butler County Commission primary races will, respectively, face the Democratic Party’s candidates in November.

ELECTION 2018: Who’s running in for office in Butler County?

Knocking on doors and social media are a given in any election nowadays, so all candidates should invest in a couple of pairs of gym shoes and be active on social media — and more than just asking for votes, donations and volunteers, be engaging and ask and answer questions.

But here are key strategies each candidate could implement for a successful primary election.

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51st Ohio House District

Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton:

The three-term state lawmaker also needs to continue his apology to the voters for his March 2017 OVI arrest. He’s done a lot of this already, but needs to make sure people know he’s a changed man.

Retherford has had some legislative successes, including most recently getting his tactical EMT bill sent to Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s desk for signature. If the Columbus Monthly anonymous survey is not the truth — where they referenced him as the “laziest” and “least engaged” among lawmakers — he needs to say that, and demonstrate that.

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• Greg Jolivette:

Jolivette knows how to campaign, and like Retherford, is used to going door-to-door.

We have a recent legislative history for Retherford, but it’s been awhile since Jolivette has been in the Statehouse or held elected office. He needs to tout both his record of getting things done and say what he plans to do and how to do it.

• Sara Carruthers:

There is no legislative history for Carruthers, so it’s key that she has a platform and knows how she will implement it. She will have a learning curve on how to be a state lawmaker, but a short learning curve is possible. Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, introduced two bills — both of which are still stuck in House committees — just a few months after she took office.

Butler County Commission

• Commissioner Cindy Carpenter:

Carpenter can win Butler County-wide. She’s done so six times, twice for this seat on the Butler County Commission. The Carpenter army of volunteers is a force and is hard to beat.

If Carpenter wants to secure a primary win, she needs to build her core of volunteers and campaign heavily in West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong’s backyard — namely West Chester and Liberty townships.

West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong:

Wong needs to try and match Carpenter’s army of volunteers. It will be difficult because her current base of countywide volunteers has been built over the past 20 years. But grassroots is what Wong does best, and he needs to continue this course of action.

It’s also important that Wong fundraise as much as possible. He’s got a healthy lead based on the last campaign finance reports, but a near-$40,000 cash lead over Carpenter won’t last long.

And just like Carpenter needs to campaign in Wong’s backyard heavily, Wong needs to campaign heavily in Carpenter’s backyard.

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8th Congressional District race

There will be a Democratic Party primary for the 8th Congressional District race, which will feature five — pending Tuesday’s certification of petitions filed — candidates.

Bill Ebben, of West Chester Twp., Vanessa Enoch, of West Chester Twp., Ted Jones, of Piqua, Matthew J. Guyette, of Greenville, and Stephen D. Shaw, of Greenville are seeking the Democratic Party’s nomination to face U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, in November.

Here are strategies they need to implement if they want to win on May 8, as well as set themselves up for victory in November:

• Name recognition: The district at large — which includes Butler, Clark, Darke, Mercer, Miami and Preble counties — does not know who any of these candidates. The person who gets his or her name out the best has the best shot at winning in May.

• Participate: Be at every single event one can in all corners of the district. This not only will help with the top priority of name recognition, but it will help the candidates know the issues of the district. While there are some common issues in every county — namely jobs and the economy, and the opioid crisis — there are unique issues that face each county and constituents want to talk about them.

• Fundraise, fundraise, fundraise: While it may not take much money to win the Democratic primary for this race — this is one of the most conservative congressional districts in the state — it will take lots of money to beat Davidson. He is not only independently wealthy, but he’s got $230,452 cash on hand and that will only grow by the time November comes. There’s not a need to match Davidson dollar for dollar, as that won’t likely happen, but if a Democrat is to have a shot at winning this race in November, those campaign coffers need to at least break six figures.

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