GOP primary candidates meet the voters


WILMINGTON — Republican candidates for the May 2 primary election took questions and spoke to voters at a special forum on Monday.

At the Wilmington High School auditorium, GOP candidates came together to share who they were and why they were running for their respective offices. Some even took questions from the audience.

A major point of the night was a Q&A for the candidates for Clinton County Municipal Court Judge. Candidates Judy Gano, David Henry, and Brett Rudduck spoke about their experiences and why they were fit for the role.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that Henry was appointed as Clinton County Municipal Court Judge for the remaining term of Judge Michael Daugherty, who passed away suddenly in September 2022. Henry will assume office on April 10.

Henry talked about his role as the city’s prosecuting attorney, how he was present in the courtroom every day and how he would want to be tough on crime. Rudduck referenced that he not only served as the Law Director for the City of Wilmington but also was the solicitor for multiple villages in the county. Gano, a private attorney and former magistrate, talked about her involvement in the community, including the development of the original wooden playground at Denver Williams Park.

Pat Haley, running for Mayor of Wilmington, spoke to the crowd about issues with vagrancy, crime, and how he’d run the city if elected.

Haley, a former county commissioner and sheriff, said that when he speaks with residents, community leaders, and business owners, he“often heard the question: what’s happened to Wilmington?”

He advised locals tell him that they see homeless encampments, public drug use, and criminal and “unpredictable behavior” from individuals.

He said many suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, serious mental health issues, and that contributes to crime. He said this results in “dramatically lowering” Wilmington’s quality of life.

“Although some cannot or will not address this urgent problem, I can and I will, and we will,” he said, adding he’d be working with the council and police on issues if elected.

Also present at the forum were: the candidates for the First Ward Wilmington Council seat – Josh Schlabach and Kelly Tolliver; the individual candidates for the other respective council seats; Bill Liermann, who is running for Wilmington City School Board; and Wilmington Law Director candidate Justin Dickman.

The candidates who weren’t present at the event were Mayor John Stanforth, City Auditor Mary Kay Vance, at-large council candidate David Nanstad, and Blanchester candidates.

Stay with the News Journal and visit the Clinton County Board of Elections website for more information on the May 2 election.

Reach John Hamilton at 937-382-2574

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