MONROE - Partisan voters in five of Monroe County's nine newly redrawn county commission districts will face choices on next month's primary ballot to determine who should represent them on the county's highest legislative body.
Four of the fights are among Democrats, with the winners of two of those races facing no announced Republican opposition in November. Meanwhile, a pair of Republicans - including one who last ran for office as a Democrat - will square off in the Aug. 6 primary for the right to face a first-term Democrat in November.
Perhaps the most hotly contested commissioners race is in District 6, where first-term Democrat Jerry Oley, 37, faces fellow Democrat David Roberts, 58, the man he beat for the position just two years ago.
While other parts of the county have scattered campaign signs, District 6 - which includes much of the south side of Monroe and Monroe Charter Township - is thick with placards announcing support for either Mr. Roberts or Mr. Oley.
The winner of the District 6 Democratic primary is likely to be elected in November, because there is no announced Republican opposition.
In the only Republican commission primary required, GOP voters in District 7 - which includes Erie, LaSalle, and parts of Monroe Charter Township - face a choice between Timothy Lake, 51, of Monroe, and former county commissioner N. Randy Ansel, 57, of LaSalle. Mr. Ansel lost his seat on the county commission two years ago to Democrat Paul Iacoangeli, back when Mr. Ansel called himself a Democrat.
The winner of the District 7 Republican primary will face Mr. Iacoangeli, 46, in November.
Two Temperance Democrats face each other on next month's ballot for the right to try to unseat three-term Republican commissioner David Scott, 50, in District 9, which includes the western half of Bedford Township and all of neighboring Whiteford Township.
The District 9 Democratic primary pits Larry O'Dell, 57, against Wade Maddox, 44, both of Temperance.
In northeastern Monroe County, two incumbent Democrats are facing challenges this August from within their own party.
In District 3, which includes Ash, Berlin, and Exeter Townships, former county chairman Tom Mell, 62, of Carleton, is being challenged by Jan Jay, 51, also of Carleton, for the right to face Republican Howard Lambrix, 68, of South Rockwood, for the seat in November.
Mr. Jay, who ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat for the county commission two years ago against District 1 Republican Dale Zorn, was redistricted to District 3 under the plan approved after the 2000 census.
Meanwhile in neighboring District 4, incumbent commissioner Floreine Mentel, 66, of Monroe, is facing a re-election challenge from fellow Democrat Desmond DeFigueiredo, 64.
District 4 is composed primarily of Frenchtown Township. The winner of the Democratic primary is facing no announced Republican opposition in November.
Three other commission races have just one candidate from each party and therefore no primary contest, while current county commission chairman Bill Sisk, representing District 5, faces no announced opposition to his re-election bid.