SPRINGFIELD, Ohio (WDTN) – It’s not just the presidential campaign that’s heating up, some local offices are also being hotly contested. Thursday, Leadership Clark County held a candidates’ debate for those running for county commissioner seats, county sheriff and clerk of court.
Seven candidates participated in the debate. Addressing hot topics and issues including taxes, community development, job creation, city and county officials working more cohesively, public safety as well as the heroin and opiate epidemic.
Roger D. Tackett – Democrat vs. Melanie Flax Wilt – Republican
David Herier – Democrat vs. Lowell R. McGlothin – Republican
Court of Common Pleas Clerk:
Melissa M. Tuttle – Republican
Gene A. Kelly – Democrat vs. Deborah K. Burchett – Republican
“It’ is really hard for me as a republican woman to have any idea what the presidential election is going to do for my race,” Clark County Commissioner candidate Melanie Flax Wilt said. “We hear so much about what’s happening nationally, we kind of forget that there are local races happening that may have a bigger impact on us directly.”
“I hope that we have a record number of people who come out, get involved and then go beyond the president. That they go all the way down and look at every person running,” Clark County Sheriff Gene Kelly said.
Political science professor at Wittenberg University Ed Hasecke thinks hosting local candidate forums and debates are essential for those seeking office locally. Hasecke said the presidential race can impact voter turnout and down voting, especially this year with the scandals surrounding Clinton and Trump.
“That’s where turnout matters the most, when you mobilize. The democrats or the republicans who are going to come out, they’re more likely to do a straight ticket vote, but it’s the top of the ticket that can influence whether they want to come out or not,” Hasecke said.
Springfield city leaders are also concerned about voter fatigue with nearly two dozen issues on November ballot.
“So we just hope and encourage individuals to read all the issues, read all the local elected offices and cast your vote for all items on the ballot this November,” Assistant City Manager, Bryan Heck said.
According to the Clark County Board of Elections, there are 22 tax levies slated on the Clark County ballot for November.