Clark County Fair crowds draw hopeful candidates

With a little more than four months until the Nov. 4 general election, many local candidates are spending the week campaigning at the Clark County Fair.

Several officials are up for re-election this fall, including Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes and Auditor John Federer. Lohnes, a Republican, is running against Democratic challenger David Herier, while Federer, a Republican, is facing Nikki Crawford, a Democrat.

The fair is also important to candidates Kyle Koehler and Darrell Jackson, who are running against each other for the 79th Ohio House District seat left open by Ross McGregor, who is term-limited.

The candidates have been meeting citizens during the fair, walking around the midway and appearing at their party’s booth. Ed FitzGerald, the Democratic nominee for Governor, also made an appearance at the Clark County Fairgrounds Sunday.

As a challenger in 2010, Lohnes met with as many people as possible, but said it’s tough to quantify how much it helped his campaign.

“You can’t (quantify it), but it didn’t hurt,” Lohnes said.

He’ll spend every day in the Republican booth this year and will walk around the fairgrounds talking to as many people as possible.

“It’s important for people to see you walking around out here,” Lohnes said.

The fair is a great place to meet people, but also to answer any questions the public may have, Federer said.

“We’re out here educating folks on what we do,” Federer said.

As a new candidate, the fair is critical, Crawford said.

“I’m new to this, so for me, it’s the big kick-off for it,” Crawford said. “It’s been awesome.”

Crawford has lived in Clark County for 40 years, but said she doesn’t know how well-known her name is with residents. She also served as a judge for a dog costume contest this week.

“It’s important to get out there and say ‘Hi, I’m Nikki Crawford,’ ” she said.

On Monday, the fairgrounds was packed with people taking advantage of the “Free Till Three” promotion, Koehler said.

“It really brought people out, and it’s typically a slow day,” Koehler said.

The fair is a great place to meet people and hear some of their stories, Jackson said.

“It’s really interesting meeting people, the stories you hear and the concerns,” Jackson said. “It’s a fun experience.”

As a candidate for Clark County Commission in 2012, Koehler said he saw the importance of attending the fair.

“People want to meet the person they’re voting for,” Koehler said. “They need to know who you are and see your face.”

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