NAPOLEON - A former agricultural equipment dealer joined the race for Henry County commissioner yesterday and an auto repair center representative, who is a former county commissioner and led the effort to put the county's sales tax repeal on the November ballot, said he would file petitions at Thursday's deadline for the May primary.
Tom Von Deylen, who owned a construction and agricultural machinery dealership until last spring, filed as a Republican with the county board of elections.
If his petitions are ruled valid, his filing means a contested race in the Republican primary.
Holgate Mayor Wallace Snyder, who operated a chain of six funeral homes for years, filed earlier as a Republican.
Jim Junge, who was a county commissioner in the 1980s and a mayor of Holgate more recently, said he would file petitions Thursday for a seat on the county's Republican Central Committee - where he has been a member off and on for years - as well as petitions for the commissioner's race.
Eight additional prospective candidates have taken out petitions for the seat held by Rita Franz, who said she will retire when her term expires at the end of the year.
Mr. Von Deylen, 52, who lives north of Napoleon, said the commissioner's office would benefit from his business background to regain the community's trust.
"There's a lot of unrest out there," he said.
He graduated from Bowling Green State University in accounting in 1976 and was employed in his family's equipment dealership since he was in high school.
Mr. Junge, 54, led the Give Us a Voice committee to place before voters the 0.5 percent sales tax that commissioners put on the books on their own last summer.
The tax was repealed overwhelmingly, and commissioners cut budgets in almost all county offices this winter.
Mr. Junge, who also has been a Holgate councilman, said if elected he would be more responsive to the electors and more fiscally careful than the current board of county commissioners.
"They've just got us up to our eyeballs in debt," he said.