Election season just beginning

Less than one month out from the filing deadline for the May 6 primary election, only one local candidate and one ballot issue have been certified by the Washington County Board of Elections.

This year’s election includes races for the Washington County Auditor, Washington County Probate and Juvenile Court judges, and one of three Washington County Commissioner seats as well as several state and national offices.

Washington County Auditor Bill McFarland is the first, and so far the only, candidate to have filed a petition to run for candidacy in Washington County.

McFarland will be running for his fourth four-year term as county auditor and will appear on the Republican primary ballot, he said.

“I’m running again because, number one, I enjoy the work … I feel I’ve proven myself in the office,” he said.

McFarland touted a record of fiscal responsibility that includes continuing to operate the office on a smaller budget than the one in place when he first took office in 2003 and returning more than $800,000 of Real Estate Assessment Fund monies back to the county’s schools, cities, villages,and townships.

Washington County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge Timothy Williams, who has served in his position since 1997, also plans on running for his fourth term in office.

Williams, who will run on the Republican primary ballot, is still collecting signatures, he said Thursday.

At least one incumbent will not be running again. Washington County Commissioner Tim Irvine said Thursday he will not seek re-election.

Though he said he has enjoyed his time as a commissioner, Irvine wants to dedicate more time to Irvine Camper Sales, the small business he owns with his brother.

“Since I’ve been a commissioner I’ve spent very little time there. Being a commissioner is a full-time position and I’ve treated it that way,” he said.

Republican Jeremy Barton, of Coal Run, has taken out a petition for the county commissioner position, but has made no definitive decision on running, he said.

Former Washington County Commissioner Cora Marshall said Thursday that she has not made a final decision on running again, either.

Applications for the 95th House District seat must officially be filed in Belmont County. So far no one has filed for the seat, said an official with the Belmont County Board of Elections.

However, current 95th House District Rep. Andy Thompson, R-Marietta, will again be running for the seat, he said.

“Things are going quite well in our district. We have billions of dollars of investment coming in,” said Thompson.

One local candidate has picked up a petition to run for the 94th House District seat currently occupied by Rep. Debbie Phillips, D-Albany.

Yolan Dennis, of Fleming, will run on the Republican primary ballot, she said.

“I’ve had several people approach me about it over the past year…There are quite a few issues on the table I’m interested in,” she said.

As a registered nurse, Dennis is well-versed in issues surrounding health care.

“The health care issue, that is a big concern,” she said.

Phillips could not be reached for comment Thursday.

No one has officially filed their petition for the 94th House District seat, which must be done in Athens County.

Incumbent Congressman Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, has announced he will again be running for Ohio’s 6th Congressional District seat.

Neither Johnson nor any potential opponents have officially filed their candidacy petitions in Columbiana County. However, Marietta Democrat Jennifer Garrison has announced she will be running for the seat.

A multitude of statewide positions will also be up for election this year, including Governor and Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, State Treasurer, State Auditor and Secretary of State.

The only issue certified for Washington County primary ballots are two liquor questions pertaining to Napolis in Belpre, said Tara Hupp, director of the Washington County Board of Elections.

Question one asks voters to approve Monday through Saturday sales of spirituous liquor. Question two asks for Sunday sales of wine, mixed beverages and spirituous liquor, said Hupp.

Though they have not yet filed it, the Warren Local School District will also be putting a levy on the May primary.

For the first time ever the district will be asking for a 10-year renewal of their long-standing emergency levy instead of a five-year renewal.

The levy has generated just more than $1,755,000 annually since 1995, and the adjusted millage has decreased from 9 mills to 5.54 mills in that time.