Thursday, December 8th, 2011
By William Kincaid
County commissioners have primary challengers
Several candidates are challenging incumbent elected Mercer County officials in the 2012 elections.
Two men have filed to run against Mercer County Commissioners Jerry Laffin and Bob Nuding in the March 6 primary.
Mercer County Prosecutor Andy Hinders and Mercer County Clerk of Courts James Highley have not filed for re-election.
The last day for party candidates to file for the primary was Wednesday; independents have until March 5. Primary winners will face off at the November general election.
Laffin, of Coldwater, took office in 1981. He will be challenged in the Republican primary by Scott Bruns of Maria Stein. Nuding, of Celina, took office in 2005. He will face Republican Rick Muhlenkamp of Celina.
Muhlenkamp ran as an independent candidate in 2008. He lost to commissioner John Bruns.
No candidates filed to run in the Democratic primary for the commissioner seats.
Celina City Councilwoman Angie King, whose term as Ward 4's representative ends on Dec. 31, 2013, has filed to run in the Republican primary for Mercer County Recorder, a position held by Democrat Tamara Barger.
Barger is seeking re-election and will face King in the general election in November.
Angie Fair of Celina filed to run in the Democratic primary for Highley's position of Mercer County Clerk of Courts.
Highley served nine terms. The newspaper was unable to reach him this morning for comment.
Outgoing Celina City Law Director Kevin McKirnan filed to run in the Republican primary for clerk of courts. McKirnan, who has been Celina's law director since 1977, was defeated in the 2011 Republican primary by George Moore, who won the general election unopposed.
Fair and McKirnan will face off in November.
Mercer County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Matthew Fox of St. Henry has filed to run in the Republican primary for the position of county prosecuting attorney. No candidates filed to run in the Democratic primary for the position.
Mercer County Prosecuting Attorney Andy Hinders, a Democrat, told the newspaper this morning he will soon be 60 years old and is looking down the road.
He said he talked to Fox about his pursuit and said he would like to stay on as an assistant prosecutor after his term expires in January 2013 to allow for a smooth transition.
Hinders has been with the county as assistant prosecutor since January 1982. He was appointed as county prosecutor in February 2000 after then prosecuting attorney Paul Howell resigned.
Mercer County Treasurer Dave Kaiser, of St. Henry, a Republican, will seek re-election. No candidates filed for the position in the Democratic Primary.
Incumbent Mercer County Sheriff Jeff Grey, of Fort Recovery, was the only Republican to file for the position. No one filed for the office in the Democratic Primary.
Mercer Count Engineer Jim Wiechart, a Republican, is also seeking re-election. No one filed for the position in the Democratic primary.
Mercer County Coroner Timothy Heinrichs, of Celina, filed as a Republican. No Democrat filed for the position.
Also, State Rep. Jim Buchy of Greenville has filed to run in the Republican primary, currently scheduled for June, for state representative of the new 84th Ohio House District consisting of Mercer County and portions of Auglaize, Darke and Shelby counties.
Ron Hammons, of Celina, also filed for the office as a Democrat.
Several candidates have filed for the Republican Central Committee. Thirty-six seats on the committee - one for each of the 36 county precincts - will be determined at the primary election.
There are also two issues scheduled for the primary election.
A five -year, 0.6-mill levy was requested by the Mercer County-Celina City Board of Health to supplement its annual budget. If it is approved, the current funding burden would go to taxpayers and be removed from political subdivisions - townships, villages and the city of Celina - which now jointly pay for 22 percent ($245,000 annually) of the health department's annual budget.
The levy is estimated to bring $530,274 annually, which represents 48 percent of the budget. If it is approved, a resident with property valued at $100,000 would pay $18.38 per year.
Coldwater Exempted Village Schools district voters will decide whether to approve a five-year, 4.1-mill operating levy.
If approved, the levy would bring in $550,000 annually for the school's operating expenses.
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