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Published: Sunday, 5/1/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

4 in GOP compete in Findlay mayor’s race

Primaries also set in Fremont, Tiffin

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER

In a GOP-dominated city such as Findlay, the mayor’s race likely will be decided in the Republican primary Tuesday when voters choose among the incumbent and three challengers from his own party.

First-term Mayor Pete Sehnert is trying to hold onto his job amid a strong slate of candidates — Jim Slough, a city councilman for 16 years; Lydia Mihalik, grants administrator for the Hancock Regional Planning Commission, and Brian Robertson, partner and vice president of MBDS LLC, a manufacturing services firm.

“They’re four very qualified candidates, and we’re very fortunate for that,” said Mark Miller, chairman of the Hancock County Republican Party. “Robertson may have the least name recognition, but he’s working hard on changing that. All of the candidates have worked exceptionally hard, and that makes the choice all the more difficult.”

Both Ms. Mihalik, 31, and Mr. Robertson, 43, have cited a lack of leadership in the mayor’s office at a time when Findlay is struggling to regain the enviable economy it once enjoyed and to get a long-term plan for flood control in place. Mr. Slough, 61, said he was motivated to run after experiencing a lack of communication between the administration and City Council under Mr. Sehnert’s tenure.

As for Mr. Sehnert, 58, a retired Findlay police officer, he said he has done a good job given the economic downturn of the last few years. He helped convince city voters to approve a temporary, 0.25 percent income tax hike to get the city through tough times without laying off police officers and firefighters and helped put together a package to keep Findlay-based Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. in town.

While there are no Democrats running for mayor, independent candidates have until Monday to file nominating petitions.

Findlay voters also will choose between council President Robert Schuck and Councilman-at-large John Urbanksi for council president. Five Republicans are seeking three at-large council seats — incumbent Randy Ward, Jeremy Horne, Jerry Murray, Grant Russell, and Anne Spence. The top three vote-getters will face Democrat John Kostyo in November, with the top three in that race winning the seats.

In Fremont, Democrats Jim Ellis and Don A. Nalley, Jr., are seeking their party’s nomination to challenge longtime Mayor Terry Overmyer in November. Mr. Overmyer is running unopposed in the Republican primary.

Incumbent Tiffin Mayor James Boroff is being challenged by 2nd Ward Councilman Aaron Montz in the Republican primary. Two Democrats — Kenneth Gaietto and Mark D. Hayes — are seeking their party’s nomination for mayor.

Defiance Mayor Bob Armstrong is being challenged by Charles A. Bakle for the Democratic nomination. Two Republicans — Robert Lawson and Michael McCann — are seeking the GOP nomination.

In Bowling Green, the only contested race is the city’s council at-large seat. Republicans William Herald and Roger Mazzarella are seeking the council seat being vacated by at-large Councilman Terry Dunn, who did not seek re-election. The winner will face Democrat Bruce Jeffers in November.

Republican voters in Henry County will choose among three candidates for municipal court judge to replace Judge John Collier, who becomes Henry County Common Pleas judge when Judge Keith P. Muehlfeld retires this month.

David Grahn, Napoleon city law director, Amy Rosebrook, an assistant Henry County prosecutor, and Lisa Gerken-Schuller, managing attorney for the Defiance/Lima UAW Legal Services Plan, are seeking the GOP nod. The winner will face Democrat David Meekison, a Napoleon lawyer, in November.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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