Clark County set to have competitive election races in 2020

The filing deadline this week for the March 17 primary election showed several key races will be contested throughout Clark County this year.
The filings show a veteran office-holder is seeking to return the county commission, the county clerk of courts is facing competition from within her own party, and two veteran law enforcement offices will face-off to earn the right to run for sheriff against incumbent Deborah Burchett in November.

“Several candidates came in and filed on the last day,” said Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker. “All of the signatures have been checked and verified.”

While the deadline to file to run as a Democrat or a Republican has passed, candidates have until March 16 to register as an independent, Baker said.

During March’s primary election - which will be held on St. Patrick’s Day - voters will cast ballots for Democratic and Republican presidential candidates as well as sorting out several primaries for county-wide races.

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Commissioners

In the Clark County Commissioners race, Republican Lowell McGlothin has filed to run for his seat again. McGlothin is a former mayor of New Carlisle.
William Linsey, a Republican and the current vice-Mayor of New Carlisle, has filed to challenge McGlothin for the seat. 
The two will square off in the primary election in March.

Longtime Clark County Commissioner and State Representative Charles David Hartley also filed petitions to run as a Democrat in November.

Fellow Democrat Alex Muller also filed for the race, and Democrats will choose between the two to run for the seat in November. Muller is a small business owner in Clark County.

Clark County Commission President Melanie Flax Wilt, a Republican, is also up for election in November. No Democrat or Republican candidate filed a petition to run against her.

Sheriff

Two candidates have filed to run in the Democratic primary for Clark County Sheriff, and the one selected in March by voters will go up against Republican Clark County Sheriff Deborah Burchett in November. Burchett won her first election in 2016 and has worked in law enforcement for about 37 years.

One, Russell Garman, has 40 years of experience in law enforcement, including 36 years at the Clark County Sheriff’s Office. He reached the rank of Major during his tenure at the office. The other is former Springfield Police Captain Mike Varner, who spent 25 years at the police division.

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Treasure

Two Democrats will face for Clark County Treasurer, Stephen Metzger and Michelle Harris.

Metzger has been the county treasurer since 1988. Prior to that, Metzger served seven years in the Clark County Common Pleas Court and seven years as a certified state examiner with the Auditor of the State of Ohio.

Metzger is also a current member of the Treasurer’s Association of Ohio Legislative Committee.

Clerk of Courts

Clark County Common Pleas Clerk of Court Melissa Tuttle is running against two opponents this election cycle.

Tuttle is a former Springfield attorney who defeated longtime clerk of court incumbent Ron Vincent in 2016.

Tuttle has been in a back-and-forth conflict with Clark County judges in recent months about keeping the courthouse evidence room organized.

Tuttle has called the orders and searches against her a, “witch-hunt,” suggesting the judges have been harassing her because she is a young woman.

A Republican candidate has filed to challenger her in the March primary: Tina Bleything, a lifelong Clark County resident, who worked for both Clark County and Madison County’s Job and Family Services for a combined 34 years. She is also a Realtor.

The winner of that primary will compete in November against Shelia Rice. Rice, a Democrat, is also a lifelong resident and current deputy register of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicle’s office in the Southern Village Shopping Center. She also works in foreclosure appraisals for the sheriff’s office, is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker, and owns The L Event Center in Springfield.

The last competitive race that is setting up is for the 79th Ohio House seat. Incumbent Kyle Koehler is running for re-election and will be opposed in November by Democrat Cynthia Richards.

Koehler has served in the Ohio House for seven years and is attempting to win his fifth, and final, term. He is also part-owner of K.K. Tools.

“It’s been an honor to serve the people in the 79th district,” Koehler said. ” I still have some things I want to get done.”

Koehler said he has a lot of, “projects,” he wants to see through before finishing his term. He pointed to things like the downtown parking garage and his crack-down on pay-day lending.

“There are still many things I want to get down in my last two years,” Koehler said.

Meanwhile, Richards has taught English at Wittenberg for 25 years and is on the board of the Rocking Horse Community Health Foundation.

Other offices that are up for reelection but do not have candidates opposing the incumbents yet are Democrat coroner Susan Brown, Republican Clark County Engineer Johnathan Burr, Clark County Recorder Republican Nancy Pence, Probate Judge Richard Carey, a Republican, and Republican Clark County Prosecutor Dan Driscoll.


2020 Clark County primary election races*:

Clerk of Court of Common Pleas:

Melissa Tuttle, Incumbent; Republican

Tina Marie Bleything; Republican

County Commissioner:

Lowell McGlothin, Incumbent; Republican

William Lindsey; Republican

Charles David Hartley; Democrat

Alex Mathew Muller; Democrat

County Treasurer:

Stephen Metzger, Incumbent; Democrat

Michelle Harris; Democrat

Sheriff:

Russell Garman; Democrat

Michael Varner; Democrat

*Races as of Thursday, Dec. 19. More races could appear on the ballot if any new candidate registers as an Independent

The Springfield News-Sun will provide complete coverage of all elections, both locally and nationwide, taking place in 2020.

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