The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

March 5, 2012

Presidential race a ballot highlight

JEFFERSON —  Ashtabula County’s Republicans get to weigh in Tuesday on the oft-contentious and very tight Republican presidential primary campaign.

The presidential race highlights a ballot relatively light on local races but packed with state and federal office-seekers. Eleven local issues will also vie for voters’ attention.

As usual, the primary will bring into focus the field for the November general election. At the top of the list are six from the GOP — three still in the running — who are fighting for the right to take on President Obama in November. On the Republican ballot are Newt Gingrinch, Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum. Perry and Huntsman dropped out of the race after the Ashtabula County Board of Elections printed its ballots.

A half-dozen Republicans also hope to challenge incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in the fall. That list includes Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel, David Dodt, Donna Glisman, Eric Lamont Gregory, Michael Pryce and write-in hopeful Russell P. Bliss Jr.

Closer to home, Republicans candidates factor in two county races. Two Jefferson residents, Corrie Leehan and James Nizen, want to face Barbara Schaab (Democrat) in November. Also, Ryan Bailey of Jefferson and Roy Brommer of Roaming Shores are competing for a chance to win a county commissioner’s seat in the fall.

The incumbent in that race is Peggy Carlo, the only local Democrat facing opposition on Tuesday. Her foe is Jacob Chicatelli, a former Conneaut councilman.

Among the money issues, the only county-wide initiative is a five-year, 1.75-mill renewal to assist the Children Services Board. Meanwhile, three school districts — Ashtabula, Grand Valley and Jefferson — are also asking taxpayers for help.

Other non-candidate issues include Income tax-related measures in Ashtabula and Geneva-on-the-Lake, a fire truck levy in Harpersfield Township and an fire/emergency medical levy will appear in Rome Township (also Roaming Shores).

Election board officials declined to predict the voter turnout for Tuesday. The county had 62,534 people eligible to vote in November 2011, November election and around 31,000 of them — a little more than 49 percent — cast a ballot. On Friday morning, Duane Feher, deputy director, said 2,049 absentee ballots were at the election board office. Some 3,300 of the ballots were cast in the 2008 presidential election, he said.

Meanwhile, the election board is ready for Tuesday, officials said. “I feel very confident going into Tuesday,” Carol Lovas, director, said late last week.

Feher agreed.

“The machines are (in place),” he said. “It’s now in the hands of the voters.”

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