Multiple Montgomery County races in limbo

Top row: Two Montgomery County Commission seats are contested. Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge, left, a Democrat running for re-election, faces Republican Arlene Setzer, second from left, a former state representative and past mayor of Vandalia. Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, third from left, a Democrat running for re-election, faces Republican Bob Matthews, right, a former Miami Twp. trustee and information technology project manager. Bottom row: Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Mike Foley, left, faces Democrat Zach Dickerson, second from left. In the race for Montgomery County treasurer, Russ Joseph, a DemocraT pictured third from left, faces Republican challenger John McManus, right. SUBMITTED PHOTOGRAPHS
Top row: Two Montgomery County Commission seats are contested. Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge, left, a Democrat running for re-election, faces Republican Arlene Setzer, second from left, a former state representative and past mayor of Vandalia. Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, third from left, a Democrat running for re-election, faces Republican Bob Matthews, right, a former Miami Twp. trustee and information technology project manager. Bottom row: Montgomery County Clerk of Courts Mike Foley, left, faces Democrat Zach Dickerson, second from left. In the race for Montgomery County treasurer, Russ Joseph, a DemocraT pictured third from left, faces Republican challenger John McManus, right. SUBMITTED PHOTOGRAPHS

Credit: HANDOUT

Credit: HANDOUT

Slim vote margins on Election Day leave in limbo all but one contested Montgomery County government race.

Mike Foley, the Republican incumbent Montgomery County clerk of courts, was the only countywide candidate to seal a clear victory Tuesday. Foley, with 55% of the vote, held off Democratic challenger Zach Dickerson.

Two Montgomery County Commission seats and the race for treasurer won’t be decided until votes are counted from thousands of provisional ballots and mail-in ballots that hadn’t arrived at the board of elections by Tuesday night.

ExploreElection Results 2020

The county has as many as 6,731 outstanding mail-in ballots and 7,154 provisional ballots not included in Tuesday’s count, according to figures reported by the county to the Secretary of State’s Office. Results could change as those ballots are counted through Nov. 18. We will continue to update these results as more ballots are counted.

Three other Democrats and two Republicans who ran unopposed will keep their current county offices.

County Commission

Both Democratic incumbents up for reelection to the Montgomery County Commission hold slim leads over their Republican opponents.

After Tuesday, incumbent County Commissioner Judy Dodge had 51% of the vote and a 5,755-vote margin over Republican opponent Arlene Setzer, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman also had 51% of the vote, slightly ahead of Republican challenger Bob Matthews. The margin in their race stands at 7,300 votes.

Lieberman of Clayton has held a county commission seat since 2005. Dodge, a Vandalia resident, has been in the office since 2007.

ExploreDodge, Setzer vie for county commission seat
ExploreLieberman, Matthews in race for county commission

Matthews of Miamisburg is a former Miami Twp. trustee and information technology project manager who previously has sought a county commission seat. Setzer is a former mayor of Vandalia where she resides. She also served in the Ohio House of Representatives.

County commissioners will be paid $107,692 in 2021, according to the Montgomery County Auditor.

Treasurer

The race for Montgomery County treasurer ended in a near statistical dead heat and no clear winner.

Republican challenger John McManus holds a 2,309 vote lead over incumbent Democratic County Treasurer Russ Joseph after 253,137 votes were cast early and on Election Day in that race.

McManus of Dayton served on the Dayton school board from 2016 to 2020, and in 2018 unsuccessfully ran as a Democrat for the Ohio House of Representatives. He was hired by Foley last year as chief of the clerk of courts legal division and says he switched parties because he was approached by current and former Republican officials to run for treasurer.

ExploreUnusual political paths for both men vying for county treasurer

Joseph, a Dayton resident, was appointed by the party to the treasurer post last year to replace Carolyn Rice after she was elected county commissioner. Prior to that, he was the party-appointed Montgomery County Clerk of Courts until he lost his election bid in 2018 to Republican Mike Foley.

The county treasurer is responsible for collecting property taxes and managing the county’s investments, and sits on the Montgomery County land bank board. The job pays $90,649 a year.

Clerk of Courts

In the only decided countywide race, Foley’s 25,106-vote margin in the unofficial results is greater than the combination of outstanding absentee and provisional ballots remaining to be counted.

Foley, of Oakwood, first ran for the position in 2012, losing to Democrat Greg Brush. Brush was then reelected in 2016 but retired in the middle of that four-year term, prompting a 2018 election to fill out the remaining two years on Brush’s term. Foley won that election over Russ Joseph, who was later named Montgomery County treasurer.

Dickerson, a Miami Twp. resident, currently sits on the Miami Twp. Board of Zoning Appeals and is chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party’s Rules Committee. He ran in 2018 for an Ohio House seat, losing the 42nd District race to Republican Niraj Antani.

ExploreElection 2020: Cybersecurity emerges as issue in clerk of courts race

The county clerk’s office is responsible for receiving and maintaining legal documents for Montgomery County Common Pleas Court, Domestic Relations Court, two county municipal courts, the state’s Second District Court of Appeals and five auto title offices. The clerk oversees a budget of about $9.5 million and has a staff of about 105 employees, according to the county’s 2020 budget.

The clerk of courts job will pay $113,000 in 2021, according to the auditor’s office.

Unopposed winners

Running unopposed for county offices and winning reelection were: Montgomery County Engineer Paul Gruner, a Democrat; Montgomery County Coroner Kent Harshbarger, a Republican; Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr., a Democrat; Montgomery County Recorder Brandon McClain, a Democrat; and Montgomery County Sheriff Rob Streck, a Republican.

In Other News