Republicans sweep Lawrence County races

November 8, 2018
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IRONTON — The mood at the Lawrence County Republican Headquarters was one of happiness Tuesday night when early returns showed the party was on its way to sweeping the three countywide races on the ballot.

According to unofficial results, County Auditor Jason C. Stephens won a third consecutive term. He said he expected Republicans to do well in the county races, but he didn’t want to be overconfident.

“We had a lot of people wanting to vote straight ticket Republican. National politics was affecting local politics,” said Stephens, who was challenged by Democrat Jason Tolliver. Stephens led with 13,133 votes to Tolliver’s 7,171 votes.

Stephens, 47, has been the county auditor for more than seven years. He had been a county commissioner for 10 years before becoming auditor after the retirement of former Auditor Ray T. Dutey.

Tolliver, 46, manager of Early Construction Co. and Martin Steel Fabricators, was the Democratic candidate for auditor. He had an unsuccessful bid for county commissioner two years ago.

County Commissioner Freddie L. Hayes Jr., a Republican, won his race over Democratic Party candidate Bob McCollister, 12,354 to 7,753.

In the race for Common Pleas judge, South Point, Ohio, resident Christen Finley won over Lawrence County Municipal Judge Donald R. Capper, 11,192 to 8,672. Filey will replace Judge Charles “Chuck” Cooper, who is retiring at Capper the end of the year.

“I have a passion for the people of Lawrence County, and I wanted to implement some changes,” Finley Finley said.

Finley said she hopes other people “will be emboldened to stand up against the status quo” and not be reluctant to embrace change.

South Point voters renewed their village’s three-mill general operating levy, 937 to 468. South Point Mayor Jeff Gaskin had said renewing the levy was crucial as it provides $200,000 a year for street lighting, police expenses and semiannual cleanups.

“It means we must be doing something right. We still have the confidence of our voters. We can continue to provide the services our people have been accustomed to,” Gaskin said.

Elizabeth Township and Windsor Township both sought five-year renewals of their fire levies, and both were renewed. Elizabeth Township voters approved their levy 493 to 328, while Windsor Township voters approved theirs 529 to 206.

Residents in Proctorville and Athalia were voting on local options that would allow the sale of alcohol for on-premise consumption. The options were sought by Katimalis, a Proctorville restaurant, and Eagle Rock Carryout in Athalia. The local option passed in Proctorville, 98-66, and failed in Athalia, 58-53.

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