Springfield commission race to feature incumbent, 2 challengers

Springfield assistant mayor only candidate to file for mayor’s seat

Two challengers filed petitions to run in the May 2 primary election for a Springfield City Commission seat held by an incumbent who is seeking another term, setting up a three-person race, and the city’s assistant mayor is the only person to have filed a petition to run for mayor, according to the Clark County Board of Elections.

The three commission candidates are longtime commissioner Kevin O’Neill, Roxanne Rude and Tracey Tackett.

Rob Rue, Springfield’s assistant mayor and a city commissioner, announced last year his intent to run for mayor. He filed his petitions to run for mayor on Wednesday, the filing deadline for municipal races.

Springfield Mayor Warren Copeland will not seek re-election. Copeland first joined Springfield City Commission in 1988. He was appointed to the role of mayor in Springfield in 1998, when commissioners voted for the role among themselves.

In 2003 he became the first mayor of Springfield to be directly elected by voters since 1914, according to the city.

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Copeland told the News-Sun in December that he looks forward to retiring and spending more time with his family.

O’Neill’s seat is the only other Springfield City Commission term expiring this election season. He filed his petition for re-election this week.

A business owner and developer, O’Neill has been a member of the commission since 1992.

The two challengers also filed their petitions to run for the commission: Tackett and Rude.

Tackett, who unsuccessfully ran for Clark County commission last year, is a downtown business owner for nearly a decade.

Rude is a South High School graduate who is an information technology professional, according to online profiles.

Springfield resident Larry Ricketts had also pulled petitions for city commission but did not file them, according to the election board.

Springfield commission includes four commissioners elected to four-year terms. The mayor of Springfield also sits on city commission.

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Wednesday was the deadline for candidates in Ohio to file their declarations of candidacy for the May 2 primary election.

The county’s election board will verify petitions for candidacy by the state’s Feb. 13 deadline, Clark County Board of Elections director Jason Baker said.

According to Springfield’s city charter, 250 valid signatures are necessary for a petition to be certified by the Clark County Board of Elections, with no more than 500 signatures on the candidate’s petition.

Also per the city’s charter, if fewer than three people file for the mayor race by the February deadline, a primary election will not be held and candidates will be featured on the November ballot.

If three or more file for the race, the May primary will include the mayor race and the top two candidates will advance to the general election.

For city commissioner, three or more candidates trigger the May primary, with the highest two vote-getters meeting in November.

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