Ohio primary candidates set

Voters in Ohio will see Democrat primaries for governor and a seat representing East Ohio in the U.S. House of Representatives this year, but candidates will sail through to November in most races affecting East Ohio this year.

Ohio’s primary election is May 6.

The last minute filing of Larry Ealy of Dayton and running mate Ken Gray means likely Democrat nominees Ed FitzGerald and Sharen Neuhardt will have to fend off a primary challenge as they seek to unseat Republican Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

Third-party candidates in the race include Libertarians Charles Earl and running mate Sherry Clark and Green Party candidate Dennis Spisak with running mate Suzanne Patzer.

In Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, will not face a primary challenge. However, Democrats will have to choose between Jennifer Garrison of Marietta and Gregory Howard of Albany to oppose him in November.

Also filing in the congressional race was Green Party candidate Dennis Lambert of Pedro. The 6th District includes all or parts of 18 counties, including Jefferson, Harrison, Monroe and Belmont.

In the 7th District, Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio, also will see a contest in November, from Democrat Robert Fisher of Canton. The 7th District includes all of Coshocton, Holmes and Knox counties, as well as parts of Tuscarawas and Stark counties.

Statewide offices on the ballot this year include attorney general, state auditor, secretary of state and state treasurer.

Republican Attorney General Mike DeWine will be running against challengers David Pepper, a Democrat, and Steven Linnabary of the Libertarian Party. Democrat John Patrick Carney and Libertarian Robert Coogan will oppose Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, also a Republican. Republican Secretary of State John Husted faces challenges from Democrat Nina Turner and Libertarian Aaron Harris, while Treasurer Josh Mandel, also a Republican, will be opposed by Democrat Connie Pillich and Libertarian Marc Allan Feldman.

Ohioans also will select two state Supreme Court Justices this year. Republicans Judith French, who was appointed last year to fill an unexpired term, and Sharon Kennedy, both are running for re-election. Neither faces a primary, but Kennedy will be opposed in November by Democrat Tom Letson, while French will see a challenge from Democrat John O’Donnell.

General Assembly Races

In the 95th District – which includes western Belmont County, all of Harrison, Noble and Carroll counties and part of Washington County – Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, will face a general election challenge from Charlie Daniels, a Democrat from St. Clairsville. Meanwhile, in the 96th District, Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, will face Republican Ron Ferguson of Wintersville in November.

No state Senate seats representing the Ohio Valley are up for election this year.

County Races

In Belmont County, the only contested race is for county commissioner, with Democrat Mark Thomas seeking to retain the seat to which he was appointed following the retirement of former Commissioner Charles Probst. After announcing his retirement in order to obtain full benefits prior to a change in state law, Probst indicated his intent to run for re-election, but ultimately no Democrat stepped forward to challenge Thomas prior to Wednesday’s deadline.

Thomas will, however, face a challenge from Republican Pete Bendo of Bethesda in November.

Common Pleas Judges John Vavra, Frank Fregiato and J. Mark Costine, county Auditor Andrew Sutak and Prosecutor Dan Fry all are running for re-election unopposed.

In Jefferson County, there will be a Democrat primary for county auditor, with incumbent Patrick Marshall facing a challenge from Scott Renforth of Toronto. No Republican filed in the race.

There is a three-way race to succeed retiring Common Pleas Judge David Henderson, with Democrats Craig Allen of Toronto, Michelle Miller of Rayland and Lydia Spragin of Steubenville all filing to run for the open seat. No Republican filed.

County Commissioner Thomas Graham and Common Pleas Judges Joseph Bruzzese and Joseph Corabi all are running unopposed for re-election this year.

In Monroe County, Democrat Commissioner John Pyles faces a primary challenge from Patti Haralson. Mitchell Schumacher was the lone Republican to file for the seat. There is also a contested race for juvenile/probate judge of common pleas court, as Republican incumbent Clifford Sickler is being challenged by current county Prosecutor James Peters, a Democrat.

County Auditor Pandora Neuhart is running unopposed for re-election.

In Harrison County, there will be a Republican primary for the prosecutor’s race, with incumbent Michael Washington – appointed to replace T. Shawn Hervey following his appointment as common pleas judge – facing off against T. Owen Beetham of Cadiz.

Meanwhile, Hervey, a Republican, will have a contest to retain his seat as judge, with Democrat C. Adrian Pincola of Cadiz entering the race. Neither faces a primary.

County Auditor Patrick Moore, Commissioner Don Bethel and Common Pleas Judge Matthew Puskarich all are running unopposed for re-election.