Rare election: All 3 Miami County commissioners on ballot at same time


All three seats on the Miami County Board of Commissioners will be on the ballot in 2020 along with a race for county sheriff.

Seven candidates filed for three commission seats by the filing deadline last week at the county Board of Elections.

The elections board met Monday to certify candidate petitions for the March ballot.

The election will be unusual because all three commission seats are on the ballot. That’s because one commission seat was filled earlier this year with an appointment after Bill Beagle of Tipp City, elected in 2018 for that seat, decided to take a job in state government instead of joining the commission. Beagle is a former state representative and state senator.

The county Republican Party appointed Ted S. Mercer of Troy to the seat left vacant by Beagle’s decision. The appointment was through the end of 2020 with the remaining two years of the term on the ballot next year. Mercer was the only candidate to file for that seat by the filing deadline. He is a former member of Troy City Council and owner of the Mercer Group in Troy.

Incumbent Commissioner Gregory Simmons of Monroe Twp., a Republican, faces a primary challenge in March from Tipp City Mayor Joe Gibson, also a Republican.

Simmons is in his first four-year term on the commission. He is the former director of the West Central Juvenile Detention Facility. Gibson is a lawyer.

Four candidates — three Republicans and one Democrat — filed for a commission seat now held by longtime Commissioner Jack Evans of Monroe Twp. He chose not to run for another term after 17 years.

The Democratic candidate is Jack Bastian, a Piqua resident and business owner. The three Republicans who will face off in March are W. McGregor “Greg” Dixon Jr. of Newton Twp., Wade Westfall of Troy and Mark Williams of Staunton Twp. near Troy.

Dixon retired last year as the county Juvenile/Probate Court judge and previously was the Troy city law director. Westfall, a former commissioner in the late 1980s, is a businessman.

Filing to run for sheriff were incumbent Sheriff Dave Duchak of Troy, who is in his first term, and former deputy Paul Reece of Piqua. Both candidates are Republicans. Reece is former deputy in Miami and Montgomery counties and also holds the rank of Chief Warrant Officer Three in the Army and has worked in anti-terrorism and related areas.

Reece was one of four Republicans who sought the party nomination for sheriff four years ago. Duchak won that primary before defeating former sheriff’s chief deputy Joe Mahan, running as an independent, in the general election.

In another contested race, Ted Jones of Piqua filed as a Democratic write-in candidate for the 80th District Ohio House of Representatives seat held by Republican Jena Powell of Arcanum. She also filed for re-election.

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