A quick guide to the March primary
- Published: February 18, 2020
The March 17 presidential primary is just over four weeks away. In addition to the big decision — for Democrats — at the top of the ticket, local voters will be contemplating their choices all the way down the ballot on myriad state and local candidates and issues.
On the Republican side, primary voters have more to mull, with a total of seven contested federal, state and local seats and just one unfilled seat overall. By contrast, Democratic voters face one competitive race, for U.S. Representative, in addition to a replete presidential field. Ten seats on the local Democratic ticket are unfilled — perhaps not surprising in our heavily “red” region.
The News this week is offering an overview of the upcoming primary races, with an emphasis on major offices, contested races and Yellow Springs candidates and issues.
To hear from candidates in person, local residents may attend a Meet the Candidates Night, scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 18, at the Xenia Adult Recreation and Services Center at 338 S. Progress Drive, Xenia. Discussion with candidates from uncontested races begins at 6 p.m.; candidates from contested races will present beginning at 7 p.m. The forum is organized by the Greene County Tea Party, but is non-partisan in focus.
All Greene County voters will decide on Issue 12, a proposed 0.25% sales tax increase over 12 years for the purpose of funding the construction of a new and larger county jail. The new jail would replace and combine the county’s two existing jails and sheriff’s office at an estimated total construction cost of $70 million. According to county officials, the new facility would contain 500 beds, a 30% expansion from the current 382 jail beds, as well as additional space for programming and medical and mental health services. For more information on this issue, see the News’ previous reporting, available by searching “Greene County Jail” at ysnews.com. The issue will also be discussed during the Feb. 18 candidates forum in Xenia.
Miami Township voters will decide on Issue 6, a renewal levy for Miami Township Fire-Rescue in the amount of 3.8 mills over five years. The levy, which has been in place with some modifications since 2000, generates about $579,000 per year to support core operations of the local fire and rescue department. The annual cost to local homeowners is $106.75 per $100,000 of appraised home value, or about $213.50 for a typical Yellow Springs home valued at $200,000. The renewal levy is separate from the 2.4-mill, 30-year bond issue passed by local voters in May 2017 for the construction of the new fire station, currently underway at 1001 Xenia Ave.
And finally, Yellow Springs voters will consider, as three distinct issues, three changes to the Village of Yellow Springs Charter. These changes were previously bundled on the November 2019 ballot, with local voters narrowly rejecting them in that form. The issues have now been separated. Issue 3 would extend the term of Yellow Springs mayor from two to four years. Issue 4 would permit 16- and 17-year-olds to vote in Yellow Spring elections, as well as run for Village office. And Issue 5 would expand voting for Yellow Springs issues and offices to all village residents, regardless of citizenship status. To learn more about the issues, see the News’ previous reporting, available by searching “charter change” at ysnews.com.
Eleven Democratic presidential candidates will appear on the primary ballot: Michael R. Bloomberg, Cory Booker (who withdrew from the race in January), Pete Buttigieg, Tulsi Gabbard, Amy Klobuchar, Deval Patrick, Bernie Sanders, Tom Steyer, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet and Joseph R. Biden, Jr. While Booker’s name remains on the primary ballot, polling place signs will notify voters that any potential votes for Booker, who is no longer a candidate, will not be counted. The discrepancy between the primary ballot and the evolving Democratic presidential field is due to different county and federal filing dates, according to Greene County Elections Director Llyn McCoy.
For U.S. Representative from Ohio’s 10th Congressional District — local Democrats’ sole competitive primary race — voters will choose between Eric Moyer and Desiree Tims. Moyer, a native of Kettering and 2013 graduate of The Ohio State University, is a genetic research scientist at the University of Dayton. According to his website, Moyer’s priorities include Medicare for all, tuition-free public universities and trade schools, $15 minimum wage and increased middle-class wages.
Dayton native Tims graduated from Xavier University and Georgetown Law School. She previously worked in the Obama White House during his first presidential term, as well as on Capital Hill for U.S. senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.). Tims’ website highlights priorities including new gun safety laws, protection of the Affordable Care Act, support for abortion rights, support for unions and criminal justice reforms such as the passage of laws that get rid of cash bail.
Ohio’s 10th District consists of Greene, Montgomery and Fayette counties. The district has been represented by Republican Mike Turner since 2013.
For state senator from the 10th District, Charles Ballard, a career U.S. Air Force veteran and business owner, is running unopposed in the primary as the Democratic challenger to Republican incumbent Bob Hackett. Kim McCarthy is the Democratic contender for state representative from the 73rd District (including Yellow Springs, Fairborn, Beavercreek and Bellbrook). McCarthy, an accountant, small business owner and Australian immigrant, previously ran and lost against Republican incumbent Rick Perales in 2018; that seat is now open due to term limits.
Democrat Colin Morrow of Fairborn, a defense contracting executive and Fairborn City Council member, is running for an open seat on the Greene County Board of Commissioners. Current Commissioner Bob Glaser is not seeking reelection to the three-member board, which serves as Greene County’s main administrative body and manages the county’s $55 million annual general fund. No Democrat is running for the second seat up for election this year, currently held by Republican incumbent Tom Koogler.
No Democrat is vying to fill the seat vacated by Stephen Haller, Greene County’s longtime prosecuting attorney. Likewise, no Democratic judges are seeking any of three positions connected to the county’s common pleas court.
A Yellow Springs resident, Steve Bujenovic, is running for county coroner. Bujenovic, a physician, previously made an unsuccessful bid for county commissioner in the 2018 Democratic primary.
Donald J. Trump is the sole Republican candidate for U.S. president. Under him on the ballot appear the three Republican candidates for U.S. representative from Ohio’s 10th District: incumbent Mike Turner and challengers John Anderson and Kathi Flanders. Turner has represented the 10th District since 2013 and has been a U.S. Congressperson since 2003, prior to which he served as mayor of Dayton. In the U.S. House, Turner has served on the Committee on Armed Services and Committee on Intelligence, among others. In December 2019, Turner voted against impeaching President Trump on both articles of impeachment.
U.S. House candidate John Anderson served as a civilian in the U.S. Air Force for more than 30 years. According to his responses to a 2018 Ballotpedia survey, Anderson’s top priorities include a federal balanced budget amendment, a term limits amendment for the U.S. House and Senate and the elimination of the tax code and the IRS. Candidate Kathi Flanders, a family nurse practitioner and pain management specialist, highlights on her website priorities including reducing the national debt, combating Medicare and Social Security abuse and fraud and immigration reform. She states that she is “pro Second Amendment” and supports “the good policies pushed forward by Donald Trump.”
Two Republican women, Yellow Springs resident Christy Lewis Comerford and Laura Rosenberger, are running for female member of the GOP State Central Committee. The state central committee is the governing body of Ohio’s Republican Party, and male and female members are elected by voters. Comerford runs the Yellow Springs Montessori School and has been active in state Republican party politics.
For the Ohio Statehouse, incumbent Senator Bob Hackett is running unchallenged in the primary, while Republicans Brian Lampton, who operates a Beavercreek insurance agency, and former combat veteran and Beavercreek City Council member John Broughton are competing for the open seat in the 73rd District, formerly held by Representative Perales.
Meanwhile, Perales is one of three Republicans seeking to replace Bob Glaser on the Greene County Board of Commissioners. Beavercreek Township Trustee Debborah L. Wallace and Xenia businessman Ron Geyer are also competing for the open seat. And incumbent Commissioner Tom Koogler, of Bellbrook, is running unchallenged for his third term on the board, having served since 2013.
Longtime Greene County Prosecuting Attorney Steve Haller announced in September that he would not be seeking re-election, reversing a previous announcement of his re-election campaign. Two Republicans are vying for his seat: Alice DeWine, who works in the Clark County Prosecutor’s Office as an assistant county prosecuting attorney and is the daughter of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, and David Hayes, a U.S. Air Force Reserve veteran who for the past 15 years has worked in the county prosecutor’s office as chief trial counsel.
The prosecutor’s office handles adult felony charges and all juvenile charges in the county, as well as operating as legal counsel for county agencies.
A two-way race will determine the next clerk of the Court of Common Pleas, with Beavercreek Township Fiscal Officer Christy Ahrens challenging incumbent AJ Williams, a Yellow Springs resident. Williams was appointed to the position in January 2018, and defended the seat in November 2018 against a Democratic challenger.
And Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer is running unopposed for the county’s top law enforcement job. He began his tenure by appointment in 2003. In recent years, Sheriff Fischer has spoken publicly regarding the need for a new jail for Greene County.
There are just a few days left to register to vote. The deadline for registration is Tuesday, Feb. 18. Voter registration locations include the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Greene County Board of Elections, public schools, public libraries and some state agencies. The Greene County Board of Elections will be open until 9 p.m. on Feb. 18, the final day for voter registration.
Early voting begins the next day, Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 8 a.m. All early voting takes place at the Board of Elections. For the first three weeks of early voting, hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For the fourth week of early voting, hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, with additional hours the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.
Absentee ballot requests must be received before Saturday, March 14, at noon. Absentee requests must be mailed or presented in person to the Board of Elections. Ohioans are entitled to vote by absentee ballot without providing a reason for doing so. The application for an absentee ballot is available for download at the Board of Elections website, http://www.co.greene.oh.us/128/Board-of-Elections.
Voters must bring identification to the polls. Forms of identification include current and valid photo ID, military ID or a copy of a current (within past 12 months) utility bill, bank statement or other specified documents that state the voter’s name and current address. Voters who do not provide these documents may still cast a provisional ballot by providing the last four digits of their Social Security number.
The Greene County Board of Elections is located at 551 Ledbetter Road, Xenia, and can be reached by phone at 937-562-6170.
*This story was modified from the print version to correct several factual errors related to the county prosecutor’s race. Specifically, corrections were made to Alice DeWine’s current employer, David Hayes’ first name and Stephen Haller’s party affiliation.