Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Voter Guide for March 19 Election

On March 19, primary and general elections will be held in Ohio. To vote, a person must carry either a driver’s license or photo ID issued by the Ohio BMV, a military ID, or a U.S. passport or passport card, and be registered to vote in the state.

Incumbent Democratic President Joe Biden and Republican candidate Donald Trump face no opposition from major candidates with active campaigns.

Oberlin Charter Amendments 

The City of Oberlin’s Charter Review Committee meets every 10 years to discuss amendments to the City’s Charter. The proposed amendments to the Charter will appear on all March ballots, regardless of party affiliation.

Issue 9

Issue 9 changes the Oberlin City Council term from two years to four years. It also staggers the terms so that there will be an election every two years with three members elected in one cycle and four in the next. To transition to that system, the 2026 election will have three candidates running for two-year terms and four candidates running for four-year terms. After that election, all subsequent elections will be for four-year terms. In 2026, candidates will have to declare whether they are running for a four-year term seat or for a two-year term seat. 

The amendment also deals with issues of Council vacancies and salary increases. In the event of a vacancy, the Council will appoint a replacement within 60 days, who will serve the remainder of the unexpired term or until a successor has been elected at the next municipal election. To ensure that no one can vote on a salary increase that would take effect during their term of office, salary increases will only go into effect for the succeeding term of each Councilmember. The amendment will now also allow salary increases to be issued by ordinance instead of by motion.

Issue 10

Issue 10 deletes the clause that refers to members of the public being able to “hear and observe” the deliberations of the City Council; this caused issues at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic when it was unclear if virtual meetings would violate this clause. Supporters of the change claim that this will provide greater flexibility to the Council and allow them to meet virtually in exigent circumstances.

Issue 11

Issue 11 clarifies that permanent departments of the City are to be created by ordinance, and temporary departments can be created by motions.

Issue 12

Issue 12 adds wording to clarify that proposed legislation that fails to garner four votes on its first or second reading need not be brought up again for further readings. The legislation can, in that case, be reintroduced in the future.

Issue 13

Issue 13 deletes the term “emergency” from the procedure for emergency motions. Taking an article on an emergency basis currently means that the article will go into immediate effect on passage instead of taking effect after the regularly required 30 days. The amendment proposes that these resolutions shall now be termed as going into “immediate effect.” If at least five votes of the Council are not achieved, then the immediate effect language is removed from the article and it will go into effect after 30 days of passage.

Issue 14

Issue 14 amends the powers of the City Manager. The annual reports on the City’s finances and financial situation would be made by the Finance Director instead of by the City Manager. If the amendment passes, the City Manager would be able to serve on boards and commissions if directed by law or by the Council.

Issue 15

Issue 15 allows for the Council to make changes to Civil Service rules that conflict with Ohio State Law. According to the Constitution of the state of Ohio, in the case that the City Civil Service rule and State Law conflict — and that the rule is made by a Chartered City whose Charter allows for conflicts — the City’s rule will supersede the state law.

U.S. Senate Republican Primary

The winner of the Republican primary for the Senate will run against incumbent Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown in November.

There are three Republican candidates for the Senate on the ballot.

Matt Dolan is the incumbent Republican state senator. According to his website, Dolan  has focused on reducing the size and power of government, cutting taxes on the state’s families and businesses, and controlling the border in his time in office since 2017. He co-sponsored bill SR 242, introduced at the 135th Ohio General Assembly in January 2023, to press Congress to designate foreign drug cartels as terrorist organizations. 

Frank LaRose is Ohio’s current Secretary of State. Per LaRose’s website, his main focuses include caring for veterans, controlling immigration, and promoting pro-life policies. LaRose served as a state senator from 2011 to 2019. 

Bernie Moreno is the founder and former Chairman of the Board of digital titling company ChampTitles. According to his website, his priorities include restricting immigration and cutting government spending. He is endorsed by Donald Trump.

U.S. House of Representatives 5th District Republican Primary 

The winner of the Republican primary for representatives for Ohio’s 5th congressional district will run against uncontested Democratic candidate Keith Mundy in November.

There will be two Republican candidates for 5th district representatives on the ballot.

Robert L. Owsiak Jr. is a full-time paramedic. According to his Facebook page, he emphasizes civil liberties such as freedom of speech and the right to own firearms. In opposition to Latta, Owsiak has a libertarian stance on abortion.

Bob Latta is the incumbent candidate, having served as a representative since 2007. According to his website, he emphasizes improving access to broadband connection in rural areas, reducing government spending, and fighting the nation’s substance abuse crisis. 

Ohio State House of Representatives 54th district Republican Primary

The winner of the Republican primary for representatives of the 54th Ohio House District will run against uncontested Democratic candidate Brenda Buchanan.

There will be two Republican candidates for 54th District State Representative on the ballot.

Kellie Deeter is a nurse and small business owner. Per her website, she aims to reduce government spending, promote pro-life policies, and use her healthcare background to reduce costs and improve care for patients. She has been endorsed by the Huron County Republican Party.

Anthony Savage is a youth pastor, small business owner, and a Board Trustee of the Lorain County Farm Bureau. His website states that he also supports pro-life policies and aims to eliminate the state income tax, protect the Second Amendment, and advance the interests of farmers. Savage has been endorsed by Mayor Scott Jones of South Amherst.

Ohio Supreme Court Democratic Primary

There is only one contested race for the Supreme Court Primaries, which is the Democratic race for the unexpired term ending Dec. 31, 2026. Terri Jamison and Lisa Forbes are running for that seat on the Democratic Ballot. The winner will face off against Daniel R. Hawkins, who is running uncontested for the Republican nomination. 

Terri Jamison is a judge on the Ohio Court of Appeals, Tenth District. She practiced criminal law and has served as a judge for the last decade. Before serving on the Court of Appeals, she was elected to the Juvenile Branch of the Franklin County Division of Domestic Relations and reelected in 2018. 

Lisa Forbes is a judge on the Ohio Court of Appeals for the Eighth District, which covers Cuyahoga County. She practiced as a business litigator in Federal Court before becoming a judge in 2020. She has been endorsed by the Ohio Democratic Party. 

County Commissioner Democratic and Republican Primaries 

There are four Democrats and two Republicans running for the County Commissioner’s seat, whose full term will commence on Jan. 2, 2025.

For the Democratic primary, Tony Dimacchia, Martin M. Heberling III, Carolyn Y. White, and Charles Brown are all contesting the race. 

Tony Dimacchia is currently a Councilman at-large on the Lorain City Council, where he is chairman of the Police, Fire, and Legislative Committee and a member of the Streets & Utilities and Federal Programs Committees. He was a member and president of the Lorain City Schools Board of Education and was a member of the Lorain City Charter Review Committee. His main priorities, according to The Morning Journal, are public safety, economic development, infrastructure, community development, and public health.

Carolyn Y. White is a former member of City Councils for both Lorain and Sheffield Village, where she was president pro-tempore and acting mayor for 45 days. According to The Morning Journal, she was also treasurer of Lorain Democratic Women’s Club, member of Federated Democratic Women of Ohio, member of Lorain County Racial Equity Center, past president of Alcohol & Drug Addiction Services Board of Lorain County, Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Program, trustee for Direct Action, secretary for College Heights Homeowners Association; member of Historical Society Sheffield Village, and Board of Trustees for Church on the North Coast.

Martin M. Heberling III is currently a Councilman at-large at the City of Amherst Council and is a teacher at the Amherst City Schools.

Charles Brown of Elyria is also running for the seat.

The winner of the Democratic primary will face off with either Michelle Hung or Martin Gallagher, who are competing in the Republican race for the seat.

Michelle Hung is the incumbent commissioner, who is running for re-election. In her time as Commissioner, she has worked with the Veterans’ Service Commission to create the Honor Fund, through which $300,000 has been made available annually to the VSC. She has also worked with the Lorain County Office on Aging to assist local seniors. She has supported the Lorain County Fair Board’s recommendation to create a new Expo Center and has introduced and passed legislation investing $1.6 million to upgrade the computer-aided dispatch at the county 911 center. She promised an end to tax increases and did not increase the sales tax in her tenure. 

Martin Gallagher is currently serving as a board member for the Avon Lake Historical Society, a board member for Avon Lake’s Beach Park Railway Station, and was the president of the Avon Lake Athletic Boosters. He won the 2021 Avon Lake Citizen of the Year Award. He is a small business owner, where he is ​​a national wholesaler of suntan products and manufactures commercial carpentry. 

For the County Commissioner’s seat, whose term will begin on Jan. 3, 2025, two Republicans, Matthew P. Spears and David J. Moore, are running in the primary, with the winner competing with Democrat Brian A. Baker.

Matthew P. Spears is currently serving as the administrative assistant to Lorain County Commissioner Michelle Hung. His experience includes 13 years in auxiliary law enforcement with an additional two years in federal service. His platform is based on reestablishing a positive relationship between the residents of Lorain County and the county government, including the first responder community.

David J. Moore is a former Lorain County Commissioner from 2001–2005. He is running on a platform of budgetary responsibility and has touted that, during his term, he kept spending in check on a half-a-billion-dollar budget rather than imposing a tax increase to balance the budget. He also managed the Lorain Justice Center. According to his website, he will seek to end cronyism and reckless spending if elected.

Sheriff Democratic Primary

The winner of the Democratic primary for Lorain County Sheriff will run against uncontested Republican candidate Jack Hall.

There are two Democratic candidates for Lorain County Sheriff on the ballot: Rick Thomas and Richard Resendez.

Rick Thomas worked for the North Ridgeville Police Department for about 32 years. He was a founding member of the Lorain County Drug Task Force. He served as the police chief for about 15 years. Since 2019, Thomas has served as the commander of the Lorain County Community College Police Academy. He served two terms as president and another as vice president at the Lorain County Police Chiefs Association. After he left the North Ridgeville police department, he was the director of law enforcement at the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office and worked with the Lorain County Prosecutor’s Office as an investigator. According to his website, he has been endorsed by current Lorain County Sheriff Phil R. Stammitti.

Richard Resendez has 26 years of experience as an officer with the Lorain Police Department. He has also served as captain of the law enforcement and corrections divisions at the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, supervisor of the Lorain County Drug Task Force’s daily operations and investigations, task force officer for the Department of Homeland Security, and an investigator of administrative and criminal violations for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections at the Grafton Correctional Institute. He aims to bridge the gap between municipal and federal law enforcement in order to improve law enforcement overall. Some of his other main goals are to maintain professional policing, encourage community collaboration, target drug trafficking, and efficiently manage tax dollars.

Former Columbia Township trustee Mike Musto filed a complaint with local and state officials claiming that Resendez is unlawfully using the support of public law enforcement unions in his campaign. County Prosecutor J.D. Tomlinson responded that Resendez is “not a classified employee and is permitted to engage in political activity.” Resendez called the complaint a “political attack” on him.

County Recorder Democratic Primary

Two candidates, Dawn Walther and Jeff Bearer, are vying for the Democratic nomination. The winner will face incumbent Mark Doran, who is a Republican. 

Dawn Walther has worked within the local government administration since 2015, including as a business administrator within the Clerk of Courts’ office and an administrative assistant within the Lorain County Government. Walther promises to restore record safety, ensure online, user-friendly access, and to “work for taxpayers as a full-time recorder” on her campaign page. She has been endorsed by County Treasurer Dan Talarek and Lorain Mayor Jack Bradley.

Jeff Bearer has served as the Chief Deputy Recorder at the Recorder’s Office since 2021. He has previous management background within the U.S. Marine Corps and the Henry Company. The candidate touts his previous experience within the Recorder’s office and labor. He has received endorsements from the UAW.

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