Few local government races on November ballot are contested

Several seats had no candidates file; voters will decide 15 local issues.

ATHENS COUNTY, Ohio — What the Nov. 8 general election ballot in Athens County lacks in candidate choice, it makes up for in local ballot issues. 

Most of the races on the Nov. 8 general election ballot in Athens County will be easy picks because they’re uncontested. Only 10 races have more candidates than seats, and another nine seats have no candidates at all.

A total of 15 local issues have been filed, joining two statewide initiatives. These include a 2.06-mill bond issue in Athens City School District, renewal of a 1% income tax in Alexander Local School District, and gas aggregation options in Jacksonville and Trimble.


The Independent will explore these races and issues in depth in coming weeks. Meanwhile, here’s a rundown of what’s on the November ballot.

City of Athens

The only contested race in the city is for mayor, where Damon Krane is challenging incumbent Steve Patterson. Krane, a democratic socialist, was handily defeated in both his 2019 bid for mayor and his 2021 bid for an at-large city council seat. He previously told the Independent he is unsure whether to expect a different outcome this time, but he hopes his candidacy will boost election turnout.

City council will pick up some new faces, but no one will be ousted. Sam Crowl is uncontested for president of city council; his seat representing the city’s third ward will be filled by Michael Wood, who is running unopposed. At-large seats currently held by Sarah Grace and Ben Ziff are up for grabs; former council member Beth Clodfelter will take one and Jessica Thomas the other. Incumbent Micah Carey will return as the third at-large council member. 

The city treasurer position, currently held by Michael Milane, has no candidates.

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City of Nelsonville

Six people filed for one of three, four-year at-large seats on Nelsonville City Council. Five are currently members: Justin Booth, Doug Childs, Tony Dunfee and Dan Sherman. Rita Nguyen is the sole newcomer for the council. 

Three unexpired, two-year at-large seats are available, but only three candidates filed: Jonathan Flowers, Greg Smith and current council member Cory Taylor. 

Taylor Sappington will return as city auditor, as no challengers filed for the seat.


Only the mayorships of Buchtel and Glouster are contested. In Buchtel, David E. Rutter Jr. will challenge sitting Mayor Tom Taggart. Glouster Mayor Samantha Sikorski faces two challengers in Jerry Lenigar and Jon Stevens. 

Running unopposed are Neil Cowen, Coolville; and incumbents Tim Kirkendall, Albany; Gary Goosman, Amesville; Amy Renner, Chauncey; Samuel Smathers, Jacksonville; and Douglas Davis Sr., Trimble.

Each village has two council seats up for grabs for a total of 16 positions, but seven of those have no candidates: one each in Albany, Chauncey and Jacksonville and two apiece in Amesville and Trimble. Several councils will have new members because incumbents are not running and the new candidates are unopposed. New council members will be Jeff Bullock and Evan Dishong, Buchtel; Karla Dellinger, Chauncey; and Lucas W. Mace, Glouster.

The sole village race with multiple candidates is for Coolville Village Council. Incumbents Curtis Rood, Frankie Dale Rife, Tiffany Rife Oman, June Tanner and Thomas Leo Todd Jr. are vying for two seats. 


Each of the county’s 14 townships has a trustee position and a fiscal officer on the ballot. None of the fiscal officer races is contested, with all but one filled by incumbents. Brittany Thompson will replace Denise Tate as Bern Township fiscal officer.

Bryan Ford and Kevin Gwin will face off for a seat in Lodi Township, vacated by the incumbent.

In Ames Township, trustee Gary Sayers will vie for the seat held by incumbent Lyle Fuller.

Incumbents facing new-coming challenges are Ranson Calaway, Carthage Township, against challenger Gene Griffiths; Robert H. Funk Jr., Trimble Township, against three challengers in Brad Lowry, Brian Metcalf and Dusty Murphy; and Matt Miller, Troy Township, also facing three challengers: Jim Buckley, George Nelson Gilbert and Leroy Guess. 

Boards of Education

Andrea Conner and Tanya Stone are leaving the Nelsonville-York City Schools Board of Education. Albert Brooks and Lacey Douglas will join incumbent David Kline on the board. In Athens City Schools, incumbents David Hayden and Rusty Rittenhouse will return to their seats on the school board. 

Six seats on the governing board of the Athens-Meigs Educational Service Center are up for election. The five positions representing specific school districts are all uncontested. No one filed for the single at-large seat. 

Each of six seats on the governing board of the Ohio Valley Educational Service Center is contested. Alexander Local Schools board members Lucy Juedes and Blake Regan are squaring off against Stephen Crook for two positions from that district. Similarly, board of education member Dave Owen faces David Alex Jajczyk and Kayla Simons for two seats from Trimble Local Schools.

None of the candidates to represent Federal Hocking – Crystal Bolin, Lynne Genter, Jenny Leigh, and Daniel Torrence – are members of the district’s school board. 

Ballot issues

The Nov. 8 ballot will bring two statewide issues before voters. Issue 1 would establish a right to abortion and contraception in the Ohio Constitution; Issue 2 would legalize recreational use of marijuana by adults age 21 and up. 

Athens County will decide whether to add 1.5 mills in property tax for operation and maintenance of emergency medical services.

In local issues, voters in Dover Township will decide whether to renew a 1.5-mill levy for fire protection and replace levies for cemetery (1 mill) and road maintenance (2 mills). 

Waterloo and Trimble townships also seek to renew levies for cemetery maintenance. Trimble Township also will decide whether to renew a 1.5-mill levy for road maintenance. York Township has a 0.75-mill renewal for fire protection.

Amesville and Buchtel have posted renewals of levies for current expenses at 2 and 5 mills, respectively. Buchtel also seeks to renew a 4-mill levy for police protection.

Voters in Jacksonville and Trimble will decide whether to aggregate purchase of natural gas for residents.

Athens City Schools is asking voters for a 2.06-mill levy to cover debt service on a bond to build and renovate school buildings, including a new high school. 

Alexander Local School District seeks renewal of a 1% annual income tax for operating expenses.

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