Lucas named in election complaint

ST.?CLAIRSVILLE?– A contest has been filed with the Belmont County Board of Elections regarding David Lucas’ recent election as sheriff.

A letter of protest was received this week by county elections officials from Gary Landers of Bellaire, who identifies himself as “an elector in the state of Ohio.” Landers states that Lucas wasn’t a qualified candidate for sheriff under Ohio law, which requires elected sheriffs be employed as a law enforcement officer within the past four years to hold the job.

Landers claims that Lucas listed his date of retirement on his certification for candidacy as Oct. 31, 2007 – a little more than five years prior to the general election.

Lucas’ petition for candidacy was approved by Common Pleas Court Judge Jennifer Sargus and the Belmont County Board of Elections. Lucas ran unopposed in the 2012 Republican primary for sheriff, then defeated Democrat Richard “Dick” Flanagan for the office in the Nov. 6 general election. He is set to take office at the start of 2013.

Lucas said he learned of the contest while in Columbus this week attending the two-week required training for newly elected sheriffs. He completes that training today.

“All I can say is I was certified by a judge and the election board, and the voters of Belmont County voted me in,” Lucas responded.

Lucas said he does not know Landers, who didn’t return calls seeking comment Thursday.

Kelly McCabe, deputy director of elections in Belmont County, said board of elections members will discuss the protest when they hold their regularly scheduled meeting at 11 a.m. Monday.

Matthew McClellen, spokesman for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said the contest “was a local matter” not handled by the Secretary of State’s Office.