Challengers file to run for countywide offices

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    Two Lucas County judicial races, a commissioner’s seat, and the county auditor’s job are expected to have multiple candidates vying for those respective offices later this year.


    Records filed with the Lucas County Board of Elections show John Navarre, 54, of South Toledo filed petitions Wednesday as a Republican candidate to oppose incumbent Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez, a Democrat.


    Ms. Lopez objected to his qualifications.


    The filing deadline, originally Wednesday, was extended until 4 p.m. today in Lucas, Wood, Ottawa, Henry, and Fulton counties because of Tuesday’s snow.

    Lucas County was the last to bow to the snow emergency, making a decision about 3:30 p.m. to accept petitions one additional day.

    “Because of the snow emergency, we’ll be accepting petitions [Thursday],” said John Irish, a Democrat on the elections board.

    He said the decision was based on the advice of the Lucas County Prosecutor’s Office.

    Mr. Navarre, the GOP candidate for auditor, said he has worked for the auditor’s office since 2002 and is a commercial appraiser.

    He is also certified by the state as a residential appraiser.

    Mr. Navarre said he is chairman of the salaried unit of United Auto Workers Union Local 12.

    He said he has not discussed his plans with his boss, and said he will roll out his platform as the campaign progresses.

    “I just wanted to make sure everyone in Lucas County is treated fairly and equally when their property is valued,” Mr. Navarre said.

    One of the auditor’s main duties is to appraise real estate so it can be taxed.

    Ms. Lopez said that, as a civil service employee, he is barred from running for a partisan office.

    John Borell, assistant Lucas County prosecutor, said if Mr. Navarre is in a bargaining unit, then he is a classified employee and is barred from participating in partisan politics. The May 6 election is for partisan nominations.

    “I’m disappointed in Jon Stainbrook selecting this individual to represent the Republican Party,” Ms. Lopez said. “I look forward to earning the vote and confidence of citizens.”

    Mr. Stainbrook said they’ll investigate whether Mr. Navarre is barred from running as a classified county employee.

    “Anita’s afraid because her performance as auditor has been terrible and she has not been fairly evaluating the properties,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

    Two Republicans filed to run for Lucas County commissioner against incumbent Democrat Carol Contrada: former Lucas County Board of Elections Director Ben Roberts and former Sylvania Township Trustee Kevin Haddad.

    Mr. Roberts appeared to be a possible placeholder for a later Republican candidate to be selected later by the party.

    Mr. Haddad, 58, the owner of a Toledo hair-styling business, said he decided to run as a Republican again after two failed attempts at getting elected as an independent — for county commissioner in 2012 and for township trustee in 2013.

    “It’s hard to get backing as an independent,” Mr. Haddad said.

    As an independent candidate for commissioner in 2012, he had to turn in 1,448 signatures, compared with 50 signatures for a partisan candidate.

    Mr. Stainbrook said he was still in communication with potential candidates to run against Ms. Contrada.

    “We will have a screening committee after the primary. If they want Kevin Haddad to screen, that’s up to the executive committee,” Mr. Stainbrook said.

    Primary contests will be on the ballot for future vacancies on the judicial bench now occupied by Common Pleas Judge Fred McDonald and Domestic Relations Judge Norm Zemmelman.

    Both are barred by age restrictions from seeking re-election this year.

    The two Democratic candidates filing for the Domestic Relations seat were Toledo lawyers John Coble and Jay Feldstein. The two Republicans filing for the seat were Lucas County Domestic Relations Magistrate Lisa McGowan and Toledo lawyer Joe Clarke.

    Three Democrats are vying for Judge McDonald’s seat on Common Pleas Court: Toledo lawyer Richard L. Roberts, Assistant Lucas County Prosecutor Ian English, and Juvenile Court Magistrate Laura Restivo. One Republican has filed: Toledo lawyer Mark Davis.

    In Sandusky County, Republicans Warren Brown and Jerri Miller will face each other in the primary for auditor. County Auditor William Farrell, first elected in 1978, is retiring from the position. Mr. Brown is the county administrator; Ms. Miller is the executive director of the Sandusky County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    Sandusky County Juvenile and Probate Courts Judge Brad Smith faces opposition from fellow Republican Brad Culbert.

    In Seneca County, two Republicans — Mike Kerschner of Tiffin and Philip Frankart of New Riegel — are running for the open county commissioner seat. Commissioner Jeff Wagner is not seeking re-election.

    Staff writer Vanessa McCray contributed to this report.

    Contact Tom Troy: or 419--724-6058 or an Twitter @TomFTroy.