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Few surprises in May Primary

5/8/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Kathleen Collins, Stephanie Kist & Maria Lindsay

Most incumbents move on to November; Green, Manchester levies pass

SUMMIT COUNTY — There were few surprises during the May 6 Primary Election as many county, state and federal candidates on the ballot in Summit County were unopposed.

According to the Summit County Board of Elections (BOE), voter turnout was about 12 percent. Of the votes cast, Democrats cast 61 percent, Republicans cast 41 percent and 1 percent were nonpartisan. As of presstime, the BOE had yet to certify the results.

The following is based on the unofficial election results from the BOE and the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. If only one Republican and one Democrat filed in a race, the two candidates will face off in the Nov. 4 General Election.

For a complete listing of races, including county central committee winners, visit the BOE’s website at www.summitcountyboe.com or the Secretary of State’s website at www.sos.state.oh.us.




All of the local judge races were unopposed in the Primary, and those candidates will face off in November.

In the race for the 9th District Court of Appeals judge seat, incumbent Democrat Eve Belfance will face Republican challenger Julie Schafer, who was elected as an Akron Municipal Court judge this past November.

Seven Summit County Common Pleas judgeships also are up for election this year.

Incumbent Republican Tammy O’Brien will face Democrat Ron Cable for the seat she has held since 2011.

Republican incumbent Lynne Callahan will face Democrat Tavia Baxter Galonski for the seat she has held since 2009.

Republican incumbent Alison McCarty will face Democrat Lisa Dean for the seat she’s held since 2009.

Democratic incumbent Mary Margaret Rowlands will face Republican Beth Whitmore, who has been a 9th District Court of Appeals judge for the past 15 years. Rowland has held the seat since 2009. 

Incumbent Christine Croce, a Republican who was appointed to the Common Pleas seat this past November after the retirement of Judge Judy Hunter, will face Democrat John Clark.

Incumbent Republican Tom Parker, who has held the seat since 2009, will face Democrat Rob McCarty.

Incumbent Republican Jane Davis will face Democrat Jon Oldham. Davis was appointed this past July to the seat formerly held by Elinore Marsh Stormer, who won election as Summit County Probate Court judge in November 2012.

Akron Municipal Court Judge Katarina Cook, a Republican, is challenging Democratic incumbent John Quinn to the Domestic Relations Court seat he has held since 2003.

Stormer, a Democrat, is facing a challenge to her Probate Court seat by Republican Kandi O’Connor.

Juvenile Court Judge Linda Tucci Teodosio, a Democrat who has held the seat since 2003, is facing a challenge by Republican Jill Flagg Lanzinger.

Summit County Council at-large representative

Three Summit County Council at-large seats are up for election this year. Five Democrats and five Republicans faced off, with the top three vote-getters in each party moving on to the November General Election.

Democratic incumbents Ilene Shapiro and Sandra Kurt were the second and third highest voter-getters in the Democratic Primary with 26 percent and 22 percent of votes, respectively. The top vote-getter was former county fiscal officer John Donofrio, who earned 27 percent of votes. Daniel Congrove, a former County Council member, received 13 percent, followed by Richfield Village Councilman Michael Wheeler with 11 percent.

In the Republican Primary, Debbie Walsh came out on top with 28 percent of votes, followed by incumbent Bill Roemer with 27 percent, Gary Hagen with 21 percent, at-large Cuyahoga Falls Councilman Jeff Iula with 12 percent and Carl Crew with 11.5 percent.

Local issues

Green Local Schools levy

Voters living in the Green Local School District overwhelmingly approved Issue No. 3, a renewal of a five-year, 6.01-mill emergency levy, by 72 percent.

According to district Treasurer Eydie Snowberger, the levy, which expires Dec. 31, costs the owner of a $100,000 home $185 annually and raises $4.1 million annually. The revenue is used to fund the district’s general operations, which pay for costs such as salaries, transportation, textbooks, purchased services and supplies, according to district officials.

Superintendent Jeff Miller said the renewal levy was not a new tax or an increase. Miller said the five-year revenue represents one-third of the district’s budget in the five-year forecast.

“On behalf of the entire Green Local School district, I would like to say thank you to every parent and community member whom cast their vote of confidence for our schools,” said Miller. “BulldogStrong has become an identifiable statement of efficiency, academic excellence and fiscal responsibility. Thank you, community. I am proud of our staff and students, and proud to be a part of this community. The margin of victory is a bragging right and should be a source of pride for every resident. This renewal will allow us to reinvest in what matters most — our kids.”

Manchester Local Schools levy

Manchester Local School District’s request for a renewal of the district’s five-year, 6.9-mill operating levy, Issue No. 5, was approved by voters by 62 percent.

The levy, first approved in 1989, generates $682,250 annually for general operations of the district, which include salaries, purchased services, transportation, textbooks, supplies and extracurricular activities, according to Superintendent Sam Reynolds. The levy costs the owner of a $100,000 home $103 a year.

Reynolds said he appreciated the support of the community on this issue.

“Once again, voters have illustrated their commitment to the young,” he said. “The passage of the renewal levy provides the opportunity for Manchester students to continue to perform at excellent levels in the classroom and on the playing field.”

Local state races

Incumbent District 27 State Sen. Frank LaRose, a Republican, defeated Caleb Davenport in the Republican Primary by 62 percent. LaRose will face Democrat George Rusiska in November. District 27 includes New Franklin.

For the District 35 seat, Greta Johnson defeated incumbent Zack Milkovich by 54 percent of votes in the Democratic Primary. She will face Republican Linda Robinson in November. District 35 covers parts of Coventry and Springfield.

Other state races that were unopposed in the primary include the District 36 and 38 races.

Current District 36 state Rep. Anthony DeVitis, a Republican, will face a challenge from Summit County Councilwoman Paula Prentice (District 8), a Democrat, in November. District 36 includes parts of Coventry and Springfield, as well as Green.

Longtime Summit County Councilman Tim Crawford (District 7), a Democrat, is challenging incumbent Republican Marilyn Slaby for the District 38 seat. District 38 includes New Franklin.



Five state seats are up for election this year and only one race was contested in the primary.

In the governor’s race, two Democrats — Larry Ealy (with running mate Ken Gray) and Edward FitzGerald (with running mate Sharen Neuhardt) — faced off, with FitzGerald overwhelmingly winning with 83 percent of votes in the Democratic Primary. FitzGerald will face Republican incumbent Gov. John Kasich (with running mate Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor) and Green Party’s Anita Rios (with running mate Bob Fitrakis), who are write-in candidates, in November.

Attorney General Mike DeWine, a Republican, was unopposed in the primary and will face Libertarian Steven Linnabary and Democrat David Pepper in November.

In the state auditor’s race, Republican incumbent David Yost also was unopposed and will face challengers Democrat John Carney and Libertarian Bob Bridges, a write-in candidate, in November.

Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, will face Libertarian Kevin Knedler, a write-in candidate, and Democrat Nina Turner in November.

State Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican, also was unopposed in the primary and will face Democrat Connie Pillich in November.

Two Ohio Supreme Court judge seats are up for election and will face off in November since all of the candidates were unopposed in the primary. Incumbent Republican Judi French will challenge Democrat John O’Donnell, and incumbent Republican Sharon Kennedy will challenge Democrat Tom Letson.

State Issue No. 1

Ohio voters overwhelmingly approved the only statewide issue on the ballot, Issue No. 1, with 65 percent of votes.

The constitutional amendment will permit the issuance of general obligation bonds to finance capital improvements for local governments and other governmental entities. Projects will be limited to roads and bridges, wastewater treatment systems, water supply systems, solid waste disposal facilities, and storm water and sanitary collection, storage and treatment facilities.

Issue No. 1 authorizes $1.875 billion in infrastructure aid for local governments — $175 million a year for the first five years, then $200 million a year for the next five years, according to www.strong-ohio.com, the website that promoted the issue. All counties will benefit from the program.

A fact sheet from Strong Ohio Communities said 35,000 jobs could result from the program in the coming years.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, the Ohio Constitution currently contains a provision authorizing the state to issue bonds to finance public infrastructure capital improvements through the State Capital Improvements Program, or SCIP. The program was first approved by voters in 1987 and was renewed in 1995 and 2005. Issue No. 1 reauthorizes issuance of those bonds.

Since its inception, the program has provided funding for more than 11,500 public projects in Ohio.


Two congressional races were contested in the primary.

In the District 13 race, incumbent Tim Ryan handily defeated fellow Democrat John Luchansky with 85 percent of votes. Ryan will face Republican Thomas Pekarek, a write-in candidate, in November. District 13 includes Coventry.

In the District 16 race, former Summit County Councilman Pete Crossland defeated James Donenwirth with 58 percent of votes in the Democratic Primary. Crossland will face Republican incumbent Jim Renacci, who was unopposed in the Republican Primary, in November. District 16 includes Green, New Franklin and Springfield.

“I feel good and excited,” said Crossland. “It’s good to get through the primary. The message is catching on with people. The message is that changes need to be made in Washington and Congress is not working. People are tired of it.”

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