A crowded field of candidates is forming to become the next judge of Perrysburg Municipal Court.
Three attorneys have thrown their names in the hat to run in the Republican primary on May 7 for the multi-jurisdictional municipal judgeship, and another lawyer plans to file petitions next week to seek the office as an independent candidate in November.
Also, a fourth candidate has taken out petitions, but says he won't make a decision until after the primary.
Republicans C. Drew Griffith, Molly Mack, and Aram Ohanian were certified on Wednesday by the Wood County Board of Elections as candidates in the primary, believed to be the first in Perrysburg for a judicial election.
The winner of the primary contest will go forward to run in the Nov. 5 general election when voters will elect a new judge to replace Judge S. Dwight Osterud, who is retiring after 23 years on the bench.
The court has jurisdiction over misdemeanor criminal and traffic cases and small claims issues in Perrysburg, Northwood, Rossford, Walbridge, Millbury, and Perrysburg, Lake, and Troy townships.
While no Democrat met the Feb. 6 deadline to run in the primary, Thomas Mackin said Thursday he will file petitions next week with the board of elections to be on the ballot as an non-partisan candidate.
Mr. Mackin, who is a Perrysburg councilman, is a Democrat, but said he will run as an independent because he believes the contest should be decided on a non-partisan level.
"In this case, the judge has been around for quite a long time and has always been [elected] non-partisan," he said. "I think that it is important to the community that they have a judge who is non-partisan and not biased."
Voters who live in Perrysburg also will decide a 0.8-mill, 5-year issue on the May 7 ballot to fund public transportation in the city. The four-member board of elections also certified the levy proposal at its meeting.
The deadline to file petitions for judge as an independent candidate is May 6, the day before the primary.
Perrysburg attorney John Spore took out petitions to run for judge as a non-partisan candidate, but hasn't filed.
A Republican, Mr. Spore said in an interview that he is considering a bid for the office in November, but his decision will be contingent on the outcome of the primary. He declined to elaborate.
"I would be running as an independent," said Mr. Spore, who ran unsuccessfully in 2007 against Judge Osterud.
Both Mr. Ohanian and Ms. Mack are employed in the Wood County prosecutor's office. Mr. Ohanian, of Perrysburg, has been an assistant prosecutor since 2003.
Ms. Mack, of Perrysburg Township, is chief of the civil division and has worked in the office for nearly nine years. She is married to Perrysburg Township Trustee Bob Mack.
Mr. Griffith, of Perrysburg, is an attorney in private practice and magistrate in Northwood Mayor's Court, which handles criminal and traffic offenses with the exception of domestic violence and second offense and above drunk driving charges.
Wood County GOP chairman Matt Reger said the party will not endorse a candidate before the primary.
"Whoever wins the primary will be our party's candidate," he said.