Wednesday, March 3, 2004

Conservatives leading in Warren County



By Erica Solvig
The Cincinnati Enquirer

COMPLETE COVERAGE
Cincinnati.com Special Election Coverage
LEBANON - A commissioner candidate supported by the more conservative, pro-life faction of Warren County's Republican Party and a prosecutor backed by many of the county's longtime political powers were leading Tuesday night.

Early unofficial returns showed Deerfield businessman Dave Young was leading over his three opponents for the GOP nod to take the county commissioner seat Larry Crisenbery is vacating.

He would face off in November against Jack Chrisman of Lebanon, who filed as an independent candidate this week.

Meanwhile, early returns indicated that voters were keeping County Prosecutor Rachel Hutzel in office.

She was leading over challenger David Fornshell of Lebanon, 54 percent to 46 percent with 51 percent of precincts reporting.

Hutzel faces no opposition in November's election.

This was the first Warren primary since 1992 that has not had an incumbent in the race for county commissioner.

With 51 percent of precincts reporting, Young was leading with 36 percent, followed by Mason Councilman John McCurley at 27 percent, educator John Lazares of Maineville at 22 percent and Lebanon farmer Tom Spellmire at 14 percent.

The GOP candidates' campaigns, some of which began last fall even before Crisenbery said he would not seek re-election, have focused on managing the county's growth.

What's needed, according to Young, is a countywide land-use plan. Young, who is president and founder of MBA Financial Group, also wants to develop a high-tech or biotech business corridor.

"It's very heartening for all of the hard work that all of the volunteers put in," Young said as results were coming in Tuesday night. "Literally dozens of people helped out because they wanted to see a change. Hopefully, people are going to get the change."

Commissioner Pat South faced no opposition during Tuesday's primary and will face no opposition in November.

This would not be Hutzel's first victory over Fornshell for the prosecutor's office. The Republican Party narrowly chose her last year over Fornshell to replace Tim Oliver, who was appointed to the Warren County Domestic Relations bench.

She has more than a decade of experience in the county prosecutor's office, starting in 1993 as an assistant prosecutor.

Sheriff Tom Ariss had no opposition in Tuesday's primary, but will face Morrow Police Chief Richard Heath Kilburn, who has filed as an independent candidate. Kilburn is a cousin of longtime Republican county commissioner Mike Kilburn.

Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell had predicted a 38 percent voter turnout in Warren County

E-mail esolvig@enquirer.com




PRIMARY 2004
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