Forum set for House seat

3 of 4 GOP candidates to replace 42nd’s Terry Blair will speak tonight.

By Nick Blizzard
Staff Writer

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A Republican Party group plans a candidates forum tonight on the eve of local GOP leaders voting to replace the late Terry Blair on the ballot for a state representative seat.

The Conservative Republican Leadership Committee forum will include three of the four candidates vying to replace Blair, who died June 26 during the last months of his third term in the 42nd District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Niraj Antani of Miami Twp. and Washington Twp. residents Mark Crawford, Scott Paulson and Tom Young have expressed interest in replacing Blair. Republicans are set to vote Thursday on a candidate.

That person will face Democrat Leonard D. Johnson, 67, of West Carrollton in November in a district that also includes Germantown, German Twp., Miamisburg and Moraine. The winner will be elected to a two-year term with an annual salary of $60,584.

The forum, set for 7 p.m. at the Washington Twp. Recreation Center, will include all of the candidates but Young. Young said Tuesday that too short of notice was given for him to attend the event, which he became aware of late Friday.

The forum will include a

question-and-answer session with the candidates followed by written questions from the audience, said Ohio House 36th District state Rep. Seth Morgan, forum moderator.

“This is a great opportunity — and the only opportunity that we know of that is open to the public — for the public to ask questions,” he said.

Morgan said the forum will help voters assess the candidates in the “highly conservative district.” It tends to lean Republican, with 58 percent of the votes cast in the 2012 presidential election going to the GOP candidate, according to the Montgomery County Board of Elections. “We think this is a great opportunity for the public to engage in the conversation,” he said. “The party will do what the party will do.”

District party precinct captains – which number between 65 and 70 – are set to meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Mandalay Banquet Center, said Dave Landon, vice chair of the county GOP Executive Committee.

Each candidate will have an opportunity to address the audience, he said, before the vote. Landon is among the party precinct captains in the district but declined to say how he will vote.

Others casting votes Thursday have no qualms about discussing their plans. Sarah Clark, a Miamisburg precinct captain, said she supports Paulson, a 38-year-old second-term Washington Twp. trustee and a partner with Advanced Engineering Solutions Inc., where he serves as vice president of global operations.

“He’s a good businessman,” Clark said. “He has a good track record of public service and he’s a bridge builder. He’s able to get things done. He is able to bridge the challenges and needs (better than) all of the people involved in this race. And he’s the one I trust the most.”

Meanwhile, Miamis-burg precinct captain Ryan Colvin said he is backing Young, a 60-year-old former on Miamisburg City Councilman who is an executive for a wealth management firm. Young also ran for Montgomery County treasurer and Washington Twp. trustee and challenged Blair for a statehouse seat.

“Tom Young is a leader,” he said. “And he will be a fiscally and socially conservative leader for Ohio’s 42nd House District.”