Candidates scarce for Nov.
Each of Washington County’s five villages will have four council seats on the ballot in November, but some don’t have a single prospective candidate yet.
In some cases, candidates simply haven’t picked up their petitions. In others, individuals may not realize the filing deadline is earlier than it was four years ago.
But for some villages, it’s not clear who is going to step up to fill the seats.
“That is a concern, there’s no question about it,” said Lower Salem Mayor David Brightbill.
Two of the four council incumbents whose terms end this year – husband and wife Tom and Kate Fagan – cannot run again because they are moving just outside the village limits.
“If I was still living in the village, I would definitely be running,” said Tom Fagan, 30.
Both he and his wife were appointed to their seats when other council members resigned. Other than that, Brightbill said, the council hasn’t had to appoint too many members.
“We’ve had to do that once or twice, but not very often,” he said.
If there aren’t at least four people filed with the Washington County Board of Elections by the Aug. 7 deadline – or Aug. 26 for write-ins – the council is supposed to appoint someone to the seat. If they don’t within 30 days, the responsibility falls to the mayor.
Brightbill said he and other council members are looking for potential candidates to encourage to run.
“The village is small, but there’s a couple of things we do that I think are really important,” he said, pointing to maintenance of streets and village facilities like the community hall and playground.
Like Lower Salem, neither Lowell nor Macksburg have had anybody pick up petitions for their council seats. For Macksburg at least, that should change soon.
“We do have two that are getting ready to get their petitions and run again,” said Kimberlee Gardine, Macksburg clerk.
That would be incumbents Ted Dobbin and Tina Williams. Another, Councilwoman Sally Frye, said she thought she had a little more time to file, but plans to do so soon, along with her neighbor and fellow council member Dorothy Pack.
Two people – Nicole Rinard and incumbent George Addlesburger – have filed to run for New Matamoras Village Council. In addition to the council seats, the village also has an opening on its board of public affairs. No petitions have been taken out for that seat, or the single public affairs seats in Beverly and Lowell.
A village’s mayor appoints people to vacancies on the board of public affairs.
All four incumbent Beverly council members – Greg Arnold, Kandy Baker, Beth Kenyon and James Ullman – have taken out petitions. Ullman has turned his in to the board.
Tara Hupp, director of the board of elections, said some village candidates do tend to pick up petitions later since they don’t have as much to do as people running for offices in larger jurisdictions.
“They’re only required to have 10 valid signatures,” she said.
Each of the county’s 22 townships will have two seats up for grabs in November, and all but three of them – Aurelius, Fearing and Salem – have had at least two people pick up petitions. Nine people have taken out petitions for potential runs in Wesley Township, more than the number of folks who have done the same for all 23 village seats combined.
Five of the county’s boards of education will have three seats on the ballot, while Wolf Creek Local’s board has two.
The Warren Local school district is the only one so far to have more people take out petitions than there are seats available. In addition to incumbents Bob Allen, Sidney Brackenridge and Bob Crum, former member Willie Holbert and outgoing Warren High School Principal Dan Leffingwell have gotten petitions. Crum and Holbert are the only ones to turn them back in.
In the Belpre City district, incumbent Leonard Wiggins has taken out petitions, along with Linda Copeland and Robert Wallace. The other two seats on the ballot are currently occupied by Rod Hineman and Fred Meredith.
Two of the three incumbents for the Marietta school board, Don Atkins and Wendy Myers, have taken out petitions and the third, Karen Burton, plans to pick hers up Monday.
“I like working with the schools ’cause I’ve done it all my life,” said Burton, a retired teacher.
Fort Frye Board of Education President Johnna Zalmanek and Whipple resident Lloyd Booth have each taken out petitions. Incumbent Lisa Perry and longtime member David White had not as of Friday afternoon.
Incumbent Wolf Creek Local Board of Education member Roger Doak has already turned in his petitions to run, but he’s the only prospective candidate so far. Joe Campbell is the other board member whose term expires this year.
Two people have gotten petitions to run for the Frontier Local school board – New Matamoras resident Fancie Smith and Newport resident Daniel Vanwey. Incumbents Jeff Lauer, Jeff Knowlton and Bryan Oliver had not as of Friday afternoon.
If school boards don’t have enough candidates to fill the vacant seats, the remaining members make an appointment after the election.