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Published: Wednesday, 5/4/2011

Primary draws voters across region

In a first, Findlay elects woman as likely mayor; contest possible

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jacci Croudup of Fremont votes while her daughter Ava Gonzalez, 3, quietly stands by at the Fremont Recreation Center. Jacci Croudup of Fremont votes while her daughter Ava Gonzalez, 3, quietly stands by at the Fremont Recreation Center.
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After splitting the vote four ways, Findlay voters elected the city's first woman as mayor Tuesday, unofficial results indicate.

Political newcomer Lydia Mihalik received more votes than incumbent, first-term Mayor Pete Sehnert, At-large Councilman Jim Slough, and local businessman Brian Robertson in the Republican primary. No Democrats ran for mayor in the largely Republican city.

"I think there were four very diverse candidates, four candidates with different leadership styles, four candidates who wanted only the best for our community," an ecstatic Ms. Mihalik said Tuesday night. "It made it a very difficult race. I anticipated a knock-down, drag-out fight from the beginning to the end, and that is pretty much what we had."

While the winner of the Republican primary most likely will be Findlay's next mayor, an independent candidate filed nominating petitions Monday.

Billy Nelson, Jr., could be on the November ballot against Ms. Mihalik if the signatures on his petitions are validated and certified by the Hancock County Board of Elections, Director Jody O'Brien said.

Ms. Mihalik, 31, grants administrator for the Hancock Regional Planning Commission, said she thinks voters might have found her public sector experience attractive, including the fact that she led Findlay's most significant flood mitigation effort to date -- the purchase and demolition of 57 flood-prone houses with nearly $2.8 million in state and federal funds and nearly $453,000 in local funds.

Primary winner Lydia Mihalik says Findlay voters apparently liked her record of public service, especially concerning flood control. Primary winner Lydia Mihalik says Findlay voters apparently liked her record of public service, especially concerning flood control.
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"I think for the most part voters understood I was a public servant and that what I was going to be able to provide was a definite understanding of how local government worked," she said.

Also in Findlay, Republican John Urbanski defeated incumbent Robert Schuck for Council President. Of five Republicans running for three at-large council seats, Jerry Murray, Randy Ward, and Anne Spence will be on the November ballot against Democrat John Kostyo. The three Republicans received more votes than Jeremy Horne and Grant Russel.

Bowling Green voters selected Republican William Herald over Roger Mazzarella in the primary race for the at-large council seat currently held by Terry Dunn, who did not seek re-election. Mr. Herald will face Democrat Bruce Jeffers in November.

Amy Rosebrook, an assistant Henry County prosecutor, won the Republican nomination for municipal court judge in Henry County. Ms. Rosebrook, who defeated Republican challengers David Grahn and Lisa Gerken-Schuller, will face Democrat David Meekison in November.

In Fremont, Jim Ellis defeated Don A. Nalley, Jr., in the Democratic primary for mayor. In November, Mr. Ellis will face longtime Mayor Terry Overmyer, who was unopposed in the Republican primary.

Defiance Mayor Bob Armstrong easily defeated Democratic challenger Charles Bakle. In November, Mr. Armstrong will face Republican Michael McCann, who defeated Robert Lawson for the Republican nomination.

Tiffin Mayor James Boroff was narrowly defeated for the Republican nomination for mayor against 2nd Ward Councilman Aaron Montz. Mr. Montz will face Democrat Ken Gaietto, who squeaked past Mark Hayes in Tuesday's primary.

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



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