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Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley to run unopposed, making history

Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley will run for reelection unopposed this year, making it the first uncontested mayoral race in the city’s history since voters have elected the office separately.

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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Bailey filed petitions containing 722 signatures, but only 269 were valid, which was well short of the 500 he needed to make the ballot, said Steve Harsman, deputy director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

This morning, the Montgomery County Board of Elections invalidated Bailey’s petition. But the board also certified two Dayton City Commission candidates for the November ballot: Shenise Turner-Sloss and Darryl Fairchild.

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Fairchild and Turner-Sloss will will challenge incumbent Commissioners Joey Williams and Jeff Mims Jr.

Whaley, who ran the city’s second most expensive campaign for mayor ever to win her first term, will run unopposed for the first time in her career in municipal politics.

“I think running unopposed is a reflection of the hard work she’s done as mayor and the two terms she served as a city commissioner and reflects the progress the city has made over the past four years,” said Mark Owens, chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Party.

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The deadline to file for Dayton’s commission and mayoral races was 4 p.m. Friday. Bailey, an insurance agent, filed his petition shortly before 4 p.m.

On Friday evening, Montgomery County Board of Elections staff reviewed his petitions and concluded he lacked the requisite number.

The board this morning invalidated Bailey’s petition.

Bailey turned in 100 signatures that were invalid because the people who signed them were not electors, according to a board of elections report. About 178 signatures were from people who live outside of Dayton, and 156 signatures did not match the signatures the board has on record.

Dayton will not have a May primary election, which should save the city about $80,000 to $100,000, Harsman said.

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

Whaley becomes first Dayton unopposed mayoral candidate since the city started separately electing the mayor under the city charter, which dates back to 1969.

This is new for Whaley. She faced competition when she ran for the Dayton City Commission in 2005 and 2009. In 2013, Whaley defeated competitors Gary Leitzell and A.J. Wagner to become mayor.

Whaley had been building a war chest. In August, this news organization reported that her campaign already had collected $141,000.

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Owens, the party chair, said Whaley is a formidable candidate because of her strong record as mayor and because of her savvy and effective political team.

“She’s able to raise money and she campaigns hard,” he said.

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

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