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Published: Wednesday, 3/3/2004

County sheriffs' races: Incumbent Kohl defeated; Steyer holds off Neff again

BY ERICA BLAKE
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In his first contested election in more than a decade, Wood County Sheriff John Kohl lost his sheriff s badge to Perrysburg police Sgt. Mark Wasylyshyn.

The sheriff was narrowly defeated with 50.25 percent of the vote going to his opponent in yesterday s primary. No Democrats were on the ballot.

Sergeant Wasylyshyn, 42, of Bowling Green, initially was told he could not run for sheriff. He persuaded Perrysburg City Council to use its home-rule authority to override a state law barring city employees from seeking election outside their city.

Sergeant Wasylyshyn said last night that he awaiting the elections board s official count. Until then, he said he s on “pins and needles.”

“I didn t know what to expect. I knew I did everything I could do,” he said. “It just goes to show that every single vote counts.”

Sheriff Kohl, 60, of Perrysburg could not be reached for comment last night.

In Seneca County, Sheriff Tom Steyer was retained by voters, defeating H. Weldin Neff.

The battle for sheriff began when the incumbent questioned whether Mr. Neff - who served as county sheriff from 1979 to 1989 and from 1997 to 2001 - met the state s requirements for the post. The Seneca County Board of Elections declined to consider Sheriff Steyer s challenge, allowing Mr. Neff a place on the ballot opposite Sheriff Steyer for a second consecutive election.

Sheriff Steyer, 52, beat Mr. Neff, 74, in a three-way race in November, 2000.

In Williams County, longtime Sheriff Al Word s decision to retire opened the door for the sheriff s chief deputy, Kevin Beck, who soundly defeated Edon police Chief Lee Lawrence.



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