Ward turned in a petition with 1,441 signatures earlier this month. Fairchild’s petition, which he submitted Friday morning, contained 1,430 signatures.
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Ward, senior pastor at Omega Baptist Church, said he feels really encouraged by the amount of support the community has already shown him when he was out collecting signatures and starting to campaign.
“It’s been a wonderful thing, and I’ve already learned things about Dayton I didn’t know,” he said.
He said he believes he can make a difference but will have to show voters that he’s sincere and truly cares about making the community a better place.
Ward said he is looking forward to hitting the streets and talking to people about the challenges facing Dayton and what they think the city can do to improve people’s lives.
“We’ve got to face challenges together — it’s going to take all of us,” he said.
Fairchild said he’s battle tested and has good name recognition since this will be the third time in four years that he has run for a commission seat. He narrowly lost a seat to newcomer Chris Shaw in 2015, but was defeated by a much larger margin by incumbent commissioners Joey Williams and Jeff Mims Jr. last year.
Fairchild, who has known Ward for 30 years and was his student at United Theological Seminary, said he’s a little surprised Ward chose to run against him.
But Fairchild said they are friends and colleagues and he views Ward as a mentor.
“But we’re both athletes too, and we don’t shy away from competition,” Fairchild said. “We value the democratic process, and this is an opportunity for us to share our visions and put out our best ideas for the city and let the voters choose.”
Fairchild said he approved when a friend described him as “a political gym rat.”
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Williams decided to step down just four months into his fifth term. Williams said his travel schedule with his new job kept meant he was too busy to give his commission responsibilities the attention they deserve.
Board of elections staff will review candidates’ petitions, and the board expects to certify petitions at its next meeting, March 20.