Challenger files to run against Nan Whaley in Dayton mayor's race

Challengers file for Dayton mayor, commission races

A last-minute petition filed Friday could mean Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley will have competition when she runs for re-election this November.

Erric Devin Bailey submitted a petition to join the mayoral race at about 3:40 p.m. Friday, just 20 minutes before the filing deadline.

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Incumbent Commissioners Joey Williams and Jeffrey Mims Jr. are likely to square off against challengers Shenise Turner-Sloss and Darryl Fairchild, if their petitions are approved.

“We will validate or invalidate them Monday,” said Jan Kelly, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Each candidate had to collect at least 500 valid signatures.

Bailey turned in more than 700 signatures, while Fairchild submitted 1,300 signatures. Turner-Sloss had more than 1,000.

Bailey’s petitions on Friday evening were being checked by Montgomery County Board of Elections staff, who will make recommendations to the board regarding certification.

Whaley filed her petition in December to seek a second term as mayor. Her petition has been certified.

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Until shortly before Friday’s deadline, Whaley appeared to be on track to run unopposed in the fall, which would make history. No mayoral candidate has run unopposed since the office has been elected separately from the commission.

But Whaley may have to face Bailey, who is a 36-year-old insurance agent who described himself as an independent.

A Facebook page called “Bailey for Mayor,” says Bailey wants to focus on leading a community movement and wants to “shift away from politics as usual.”

Whaley is used to competition. She faced it when she ran for the Dayton City Commission in 2005 and 2009 and again when she ran for mayor in 2013. Whaley defeated incumbent Gary Leitzell and challenger A.J. Wagner to become the elected face of the city.

Whaley has been building a war chest in preparation for re-election. In August, this news organization reported that her campaign already had collected $141,000.

Whaley recently said that she is considering running for governor. But she stressed that her top priority and focus was the mayor’s race.

Dayton Commissioners Williams and Mims have filed petitions in order to try to hold onto their seats.

Williams has served in office since 2002. Mims joined the commission in 2014. Both easily won election in November 2013.

Williams, 51, said he wants a fifth term in office because there’s still a lot of work to do and his experience and deep understanding of the city will help move it forward.

“We’ve got some opportunities for growth, and we’ve got to make smart decisions around how we grow,” said Williams, who is senior vice president of commercial banking for Citizens Bank.

Mims is past president of the Dayton Board of Education and previously served as a district representative on the Ohio School Board. He retired from Dayton Public Schools after more than 35 years under his belt.

But Fairchild and Turner-Sloss plan to put up a tough fight. Fairchild came close to winning a commission seat the last time he ran.

Fairchild, 51, is a community activist and manager of chaplain services at Dayton Children’s hospital.

In November 2015, Fairchild fell 208 votes short of earning a spot on the commission. He was edged out by Chris Shaw.

Fairchild said Dayton needs a comprehensive and strategic plan to improve local neighborhoods.

“I know the city inside and out, and I see places where we are doing well, and places where we can do better,” Fairchild said. “One of the places we can do better is the condition of our neighborhoods. “

Turner-Sloss, 35, is a logistics management specialist with the federal government. She previously worked for the city of Dayton as a senior community development specialist.

Turner-Sloss also is a member of the grassroots advocacy group Neighborhood Over Politics.

Turner-Sloss said she hopes to give a “voice to the voiceless,” bring a new perspective to the commission and spread the city’s investments beyond downtown into other neighborhoods.

“I think that we need a diverse, innovative way of thinking and we need to cultivate new leadership in the city of Dayton,” she said.

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