TIFFIN — Seneca County Commissioner Ben Nutter, who led the charge to tear down the county’s 1884 courthouse, was thrown out of office by a wide margin Tuesday.
Tiffin businessman Fred Zoeller, a Republican, pulled in 58 percent of the vote in his first run for office.
Mr. Nutter, a Democrat and a Tiffin firefighter, came under scrutiny when he and fellow commissioner Jeff Wagner voted to demolish the historic courthouse at a cost of nearly $400,000.
“I would hope that Commissioner Nutter didn't lose this race strictly as a result of the courthouse, but more from the lack of making decisions. I call it kicking the can down the road,” Mr. Zoeller said. “I'm just overwhelmed with the voters' confidence in me. I want to commend Ben Nutter. We kept everything above board. We just have some different views. I know that I'm going to have to make some tough decisions, but they will be made in the best interest of the people. ”
Mr. Nutter did not return calls seeking comment.
Mr. Zoeller, owner and chief executive officer of Laminate Technologies in Tiffin, said his focus will be economic development.
Seneca County voters also chose Republican Holly Stacy over independent Paul Shoemaker to replace two-term Commissioner Dave Sauber.
Mr. Sauber, who had cast the lone vote against demolishing the courthouse, was defeated in the GOP primary.
In Wood County, voters chose Democrat Joel Kuhlman to retain the commissioner’s seat filled for more than two decades by Democrat Alvie Perkins. Mr. Kuhlman, a Bowling Green lawyer appointed after Mr. Perkins retired, defeated Republican Doris Herringshaw.
Incumbent Wood County Commissioner Jim Carter, 73, defeated Democrat Fred Keith, Jr., and Libertarian Brad Waltz to win a fifth term.
Wood County Recorder Julie Baumgardner, a Democrat, won a second term by defeating Republican Brian Boos.
In Henry County, two incumbent officeholders were tossed out.
Commissioner Richard Myers, a Democrat who six weeks ago was indicted for having an unlawful interest in a contract, was soundly defeated by Republican Glenn Miller.
Longtime Sheriff John Nye lost to independent Mike Bodenbender, who resigned as sergeant to run for his boss’ job.
Henry County Treasurer Calvin Spiess, a Democrat, was re-elected over Republican Zachary Riley.
In Sandusky County, four-term Commissioner Terry Thatcher, a Republican, received a fifth term, defeating Democrat Glenn R. Baker. Sandusky County voters also re-elected Prosecutor Tom Stierwalt, a Democrat, who was challenged by Republican Tim Braun, an assistant prosecutor in Lucas County.
Sandusky County voters elected attorney Mary Elizabeth Fiser as judge of the county court in Woodville. She defeated Beth Tischler, an assistant Sandusky County prosecutor.
The judgeship initially was not included on the ballot but was added after the Ohio Supreme Court struck down the merger of the Woodville and Clyde courts.
In Fulton County, Republican incumbent Commissioner Paul Barnaby won another term, easily defeating independent Becky Thatcher. Chief Deputy Roy Miller was elected sheriff to replace Darrell Merillat, who did not seek re-election after 28 years in office. Mr. Miller defeated Wauseon Police Chief Keith Torbet, an independent.
In Ottawa County, Commissioner Steve Arndt, a Republican, was re-elected over Democrat John Huffman, a lawyer from Elmore, while incumbent Republican Mark Stahl was defeated by Democrat JoEllen Regal.
Ottawa County voters also chose a new coroner. Incumbent Dr. Jerome McTague, a Republican, was soundly defeated by Dr. Dan Cadigan, a Democrat from Port Clinton.
In Putnam County, incumbent Sheriff James Beutler, a Democrat, was defeated by Republican Michael Chandler, a retired deputy. The three-term sheriff’s bid for re-election was likely hurt by his ex-wife’s 2009 conviction for stealing $261,000 from her former employer.
Staff writer Jennifer Feehan and Blade Correspondent Lisa Swickard contributed to this report.