By Chris Balusik, Reporter, Chillicothe Gazette
CHILLICOTHE – When Ross County voters head to the polls on primary election day May 8, they will find few contested candidate races on which to cast ballots.
Voters in the Chillicothe City School District, however, will have the opportunity to vote on a substitute levy request that district officials feel is needed for operations over the next five years once an existing levy approved in 2013 expires at the end of December.
Wednesday afternoon was the filing deadline for candidates and issues to appear on the May ballot. In order to actually appear on the ballot, those filings must still be reviewed and formally approved by the Ross County Board of Elections.
The Chillicothe City Schools are seeking 3.5 mills annually over five years, about 0.2 mills less than the effective millage being collected on the expiring emergency levy from 2013. District officials hope that between the levy proceeds, a district administrative restructuring and a possible early retirement program being considered, the levy can be eliminated or severely reduced in five years when it would be up for renewal.
The only other local issue likely to appear on the ballot is a Sunday alcohol sales proposal for Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 600 that would come before voters in Chillicothe’s Precinct 6B.
While the majority of offices on the ballot are state and federal, there are a few local positions on which voters will decide. Two of those will not involve primary contests, including Ross County Commissioner, where Democratic incumbent Doug Corcoran will not face a primary challenge and does not have a Republican opponent declared for the general election.
The other local seat without a primary battle is for one of two available 4th District Court of Appeals seats, with incumbent Marie Hoover of Stout unopposed on the Democratic side while Kris Blanton of West Union does not face opposition on the Republican side.
The other 4th District Court of Appeals seat has Valerie Gerlach running unopposed in the Democratic primary, while Michael Hess of Commercial Point and Kathleen Crites Madden of Williamsport will square off in the Republican primary.
Three candidates are vying to take retiring Judge Scott Nusbaum’s seat on the Ross County Common Pleas Court bench. Local attorney David Knisley is the sole Democrat seeking the job, while Chillicothe Assistant Law Director Michele Rout and Ross County Prosecutor Matthew Schmidt will face off in the May primary to see who will challenge Knisley in November.
Ross County Auditor Tom Spetnagel Jr. does not face a challenge on either the Democrat or Republican side.
Because of term limits, Republican Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger cannot seek another term representing the 91st District, which covers Pike, Highland, Clinton and a portion of southern Ross counties. Seeking to replace him in the Ohio House will be Sabina Republican Beth Ellis and Hillsboro Republican Shane Wilkin, while New Vienna Democrat Justin Grimes will be the only representative of his party on the primary ballot.
Ohio’s 92nd House District, covering Fayette, eastern Pickaway, and northern Ross counties, will have a competitive race in November, but not in the primary. Incumbent Republican Gary Scherer of Circleville will face a general election challenge from Democratic Chillicothe educator Beth Workman.
Republican incumbent Bob Peterson, of Sabina, will not face a primary challenger in the 17th State Senate district, which covers two partial counties and eight full counties including Ross and Pike. He will, however, face a challenge in November from Democrat Scott Dailey, of Waverly.
Incumbents in a pair of U.S. Representative races that involve the local area, Republican 2nd District U.S. Rep. Brad Wenstrup and Republican 15th District U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers, will not face primary challenges.
In the Democratic primaries, New Richmond retired surgeon Janet Everhard and Cincinnati resident Jill Schiller will face off in the 2nd District that includes southern Ross and Pike counties among other areas, while Richard Crosby, who had originally planned on running, withdrew from the race. Rob Jarvis of Nelsonville and central Ohio’s Rick Neal will appear on the primary ballot in the 15th District that counts northern Ross County within its boundaries.
Voters also will cast votes in several State Central Committee races for both parties. Central Committee members help develop party policy in the state.