West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong and Butler County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter are competing for the GOP nomination for Butler County Commission in the May 8 primary election.

2 GOP candidates for Butler County commissioner will debate this week

Incumbent Butler County Commissioner Cindy Carpenter is being challenged by West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong for the party’s nomination. Both will debate at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Miami Hamilton Downtown Center at 221 High St.

This is likely the only event featuring the two candidates, neither of whom has ever lost an election.

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The forum is presented by the Journal-News and Miami University Regionals’ Center for Civic Engagement.

“We’re excited to offer this opportunity for local citizens to learn more about these local offices, specifically the commissioners and the role that they play in our community,” said Sarah Woiteshek Pietzuch, director for the Center for Civic Engagement. “The commissioners have a significant impact on the day-to-day experiences of folks in Butler County.”

This will be the fourth forum or debate in Butler County within the past few weeks featuring statewide or local candidates. Earlier this month, all six Ohio gubernatorial candidates were in Butler County — the GOP candidates for interviews and the Democratic candidates for a debate — stating their cases for election. Last week , the Democratic candidates for the 8th Congressional District and all candidates for the 51st Ohio House District were at forums in downtown Hamilton for their respective races.

“We’ve hosted statewide candidates, but local elections are equally important. Local elections matter,” said Woiteshek Pietzuch.

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The winner of the May GOP primary will face former Middletown vice mayor Dora Bronston — who is running unopposed in the Democratic primary — in November. Bronston, the president of the Middletown Branch of the NAACP, was invited to Thursday’s event but was unable to attend as the Middletown NAACP annual banquet is also that night.

Carpenter, who’s been endorsed by the Butler County GOP, is seeking her third term on the County Commission, and her seventh county-wide electoral victory. She was elected to four terms as the Butler County Clerk of Courts before seeking the commission seat.

Wong is serving his fourth term as West Chester Twp. trustee. He won his fourth term to the West Chester Twp. Board of Trustees in November 2017. He’s been the top vote-getter in the largest township in the state in his three re-election bids.

The winner of the Butler County Commission race will serve alongside commissioners T.C. Rogers and Don Dixon, and will oversee, among other things, the business growth along the Interstate 75 corridor, the growing opioid crisis and a county airport that has yet to turn a profit for the county.

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