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Published: Saturday, 1/3/2004

County GOP backs Barlos re-election

BY FRITZ WENZEL
BLADE POLITICAL WRITER

Democratic Lucas County Commissioner Harry Barlos will run for re-election as an independent candidate this fall -with the full support of the county Republican Party and the praise of Ohio Republican Party Chairman Bob Bennett.

He will face fellow Democrat Peter Gerken in the November election. Mr. Gerken won the party s official endorsement in an acrimonious process last month that has split the party.

Bernadette Noe, chairman of the Republican Party, released a statement citing as a top goal to “defeat Pete Gerken, and we believe the best strategy to do so is by endorsing Harry Barlos.”

“Barlos record reflects that he has always been fiscally conservative while in office,” said Ms. Noe in the statement, which added that the GOP executive committee “was very concerned that any candidate in a three-way race would need to raise and spend more than $200,000 to be successful in November.”

Ms. Noe said, “such a race would drain the resources” for other candidates.

The race is one of two contests for seats on the board of county commissioners that will highlight a busy year in local elections.

Mr. Gerken, a Toledo councilman, was the only candidate to file paperwork for the race by yesterday s deadline. Following rules for independent candidates, Mr. Barlos has until March 1 to file his.

Republicans elected not to field a candidate for the Barlos seat.

“I commend Harry for putting the residents of Lucas County first and taking this bold step away from the status quo,” Mr. Bennett said in a statement released yesterday. “I am confident the voters of Lucas County will reward his leadership with re-election to the county commission.”

Paula Ross, chairman of the county Democrats, said she did not understand the Republican strategy.

“It s crazy,” she said.

“Both of the commissioner races will be key,” Ms. Ross added.

In the other contest, incumbent Democrat Tina Skeldon Wozniak, who was appointed to her seat just over a year ago, will be making her first run for countywide office. She will be opposed by Republican state Rep. Lynn Olman, whose district includes the county s western suburbs.

“We know that we have a strong opponent running against Tina,” Ms. Ross said, adding that Ms. Wozniak will have to overcome her modesty. “She will have to continue not only doing a good job but, I think, do a better job of talking about her accomplishments.

“She is getting a lot done, but she is going to have to do a better job of delivering a message about what she has accomplished,” the party chairman said.

Both chairmen said other local races will gain attention as the year wears on, including several races for seats on local courts.

In the race for county treasurer, Democrat Wade Kapszukiewicz will run against Republican Betty Shultz. Both Ms. Shultz and Mr. Kapszukiewicz are Toledo city councilmen.

The office is now held by Democrat Ray Kest, who is facing a criminal investigation by a special prosecutor. He did not file for re-election.

Two candidates - Democrat Anita Lopez and Republican Melanie Perz - filed to run for county recorder. Ms. Lopez was a top assistant to Toledo Mayor Jack Ford and is a member of the Toledo Public school board. Ms. Perz is a real estate agent.

Incumbent Recorder Sue Rioux is retiring at the end of her term.

Lucas County Sheriff James Telb, a Democrat, is challenged by Republican Thomas Gulch. Mr. Gulch is chief of the Oregon Police Department.

Democrat Bernie Quilter, the Lucas County clerk of courts, is challenged by Republican Theresa Gabriel. Ms. Gabriel is the former clerk of Toledo Municipal Court who narrowly lost election for her post in November.

Incumbent county Prosecutor Julia Bates, Coroner James Patrick, and Engineer Keith Earley - all Democrats - are unopposed.

Two seats on the state 6th District Court of Appeals are up for grabs. Incumbent Democrat Mark Pietrykowski is unopposed for re-election, while Democrat William Skow will face off against Republican Robert Christiansen for the seat being vacated by Judge Richard Knepper.

Judge Christiansen s term on the Common Pleas Court is expiring. He chose to run for the appeals court rather than his current seat.

Common Pleas Judge Ruth Ann Franks, a Democrat, is unopposed in her re-election bid, but there is competition for several other court seats.

The race for Judge Christiansen s seat pits Democrat Denise Dartt against Republican Tim Kuhlman. Mr. Kuhlman is a lawyer in private practice. Ms. Dartt is a Toledo Municipal Court judge.

Republican Judge Patrick Foley is challenged by Democrat Gary Cook. Mr. Cook is an assistant county prosecutor. Mr. Foley was named to the bench by Gov. Bob Taft in February.

Republican Judge James Jensen is challenged by Democrat James Vail, who is an assistant county prosecutor.

Democrat Thomas Osowik, a judge in Toledo Municipal Court, and Toledo lawyer Jack Zouhary, a Republican, are competing for the Common Pleas seat being vacated by Judge Ronald Bowman. Judge Bowman, 73, is prohibited by the state constitution from running for re-election because of his age.

Republican Judge Lynn Schaefer, who was recently appointed to replace Democrat Joseph Flores on the county s juvenile court, will be opposed by Democrat Denise Cubbon. Ms. Cubbon is the county s chief juvenile prosecutor.

Judge Flores, who died of liver cancer in October, was one of two judges who specialized in juvenile cases.

Candidates for the state legislature in four Lucas County districts also filed paperwork by yesterday s deadline.

In District 46 - the Olman seat that includes the county s western suburbs - Republican Mark Wagoner, Jr., is opposed by Democrat Nancy Greeley.

In District 47, which includes parts of South and East Toledo, incumbent Democrat Peter Ujvagi is challenged by Steve Goldman, a Republican who ran for Toledo school board last year.

In District 48, incumbent Democrat Edna Brown will face the winner of a Republican primary battle between Zach Haughawout and Melinda Jenson. The district includes central Toledo neighborhoods.

District 49 incumbent Jeanine Perry, a Democrat, will face a challenge next fall from Republican Chris Myers. The district includes North Toledo and the county s eastern suburbs.

Perrysburg police Sgt Mark Wasylyshyn, who successfully fought City Council over the right to seek election as Wood County sheriff, has filed petitions to challenge incumbent John Kohl in the Republican primary.

City Council voted in November to support of a measure that would allow Perrysburg employees to run for elected office outside the city, removing a barrier that stymied Sergeant Wasylyshyn s bid.

He began campaigning in the spring to unseat Sheriff Kohl, but suspended the effort in late September after city officials advised him his candidacy appeared to violate state law.

Wood County s other contested race in the GOP primary involves the engineer s office. Raymond Huber of Perrysburg, who works in the engineer s office, faces Matthew Tewers of Northwood.



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