Thursday, January 1, 2004

Warren County ballot sparse

2 countywide races contested

By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

LEBANON - Unless more candidates surface before Friday's filing deadline, Warren County voters will see only two countywide contested races on the March primary ballot.

Tom Spellmire of Lebanon has joined the race for Warren County commissioner. The 49-year-old farmer will face Dave Young of Deerfield Township, Mason Councilman John McCurley and John Lazares, superintendent of the Warren County Educational Service Center, for the seat Commissioner Larry Crisenbery is vacating.

The county prosecutor's race also is contested. Incumbent prosecutor Rachel Hutzel will face off against David P. Fornshell, who filed his petitions Wednesday.

Spellmire, who filed his paperwork last week, is a latecomer to a race that's been in full swing for months, though he said he's not worried the other candidates have had a head start campaigning.

The Republican candidate wanted to wait to see who else was running before filing.

Spellmire, who was a co-chair of the county's farmland-open space committee, says he wants better decisions made about land use and preserving open space in Ohio's second-fastest-growing county.

"I'm not against growth," he said. "I think we can do both. We can grow, but there is some ground that I think really adds value to real estate in the county."

As of Wednesday, no one had filed petitions with the county Board of Elections to run against Commissioner Pat South.

Unless another candidate enters the race, the March 2 primary will be a repeat face-off between Fornshell and Hutzel.

The county Republican Party narrowly selected her over Fornshell last March to replace Tim Oliver, the former prosecutor who accepted an appointment from the governor to become a Warren County Domestic Relations judge.

Fornshell, a Republican who lives in Lebanon, has served as Blue Ash municipal prosecutor since 1999.

Also Wednesday: Democrat Jim Lubbers of Hamilton filed his paperwork with the Butler County Board of Elections.

He's vying for the commissioner seat held by Republican Chuck Furmon.

Janice Morse contributed to this story.


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