All four Hillsboro City Council ward races will include both Republican and Democratic party candidates, while three Republicans and one Democrat are running for the three council at-large positions.
In the wake of Republican Kay Barrera withdrawing from the Ward 3 council race due to her employment in Clinton County as a classified civil service worker, Republican Sharolyn Moore of Lilly Hill and Democrat Tim Countryman of Conrad Street filed petitions Wednesday for the Ward 3 race.
Rob Smith, a Democrat who lives on Greystone Drive, filed petitions just before deadline Wednesday for the Ward 1 council race, opposing Republican Adam Wilkin.
While the November General Election ballot will include numerous contested city races, the only primary contest on May 2 will be on the Republican side between Jason Grove and Joseph Mahan in the Ward 4 council race.
Uncontested is the race for city council president, with incumbent Republican Lee Koogler the lone candidate in that race. David McKenna, the incumbent Democrat for Hillsboro Municipal Court judge, is uncontested in that race.
Wednesday was the deadline for Republicans and Democrats to file for city races, but unaffiliated candidates can still file until May 1.
Fifty valid signatures were required on petitions for candidates for judge, council president, city treasurer and at-large council races. Twenty-five valid signatures were required for candidates for council ward races.
Candidates who filed as Republicans and Democrats by Wednesday’s deadline for partisan filings, followed by the number of valid and invalid signatures on their petitions as determined by local election officials, are as follows, with incumbents noted by (i):
• Municipal Court Judge: David H. McKenna (i), Democrat, 83/7.
• President of Council: Lee Koogler (i), Republican, 77/1.
• City Treasurer: Patricia Burns, Democrat, 74 total signatures (signatures were not yet validated); Amy Robinson, Republican, 97/3.
• Council-at-Large: Brandon Leeth, Democrat, 83/7; Tracy Aranyos (i) (currently represents Ward 3), Republican, 76/5; Justin Harsha (i), Republican, 77/3; Ann E. Morris (i), Republican, 91/4.
• Council Ward 1: Rob Smith, Democrat, 35 total signatures (signatures were not yet validated); Adam Wilkin, Republican, 41/3.
• Council Ward 2: Jason L. Burns, Democrat, 33/4; Claudia Klein (i), Republican, 37/7.
• Council Ward 3: Tim Countryman, Democrat, 33/3; Sharolyn L. Moore, Republican, 36/1.
• Council Ward 4: Mary B. Stanforth, Democrat, 41/3; Jason Grove, Republican, 36/3; Joseph Mahan, Republican, 32/2.
While unaffiliated, or independent, candidates have until May 1 to file for city offices, deciding whether a candidate is actually qualified as unaffiliated comes down to a determination by election officials based on several criteria supplied by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.
According to the state’s Candidate Requirement Guide provided by local election administrator Steve Witham this week, “An independent candidate must actually be unaffiliated from any political party, and the required claim of being unaffiliated must be made in good faith for the candidate to be qualified to run as an independent candidate.”
Several previous election cases are offered as guidelines for election officials to follow in making their determination.
An oft-cited opinion issued from the secretary of state’s office in previous years advises that “indications of party affiliation such as past voting history, information submitted on required election-related filings, political advertisements, participation as a political party officer or member, or holding a public office for which the office holder was nominated through a political party’s primary election and elected on a partisan ticket may service as evidence, though not necessarily conclusive evidence, of party affiliation to support a protest against an independent candidate’s candidacy.”
The opinion indicates that while those factors as a whole should be considered, any one of them considered alone may not necessarily lead to sufficient evidence to disqualify someone seeking to run as unaffiliated.
The opinion is Advisory No. 2007-05 and is based on a ruling in an appeals court case, Morrison v. Colley.
The November ballot will also feature numerous township, village and school board races, all of which are considered non-partisan, with a filing deadline of May 1.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at [email protected]