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No nominees for Democrats in county races

With the Washington County Democratic Party announcing on Saturday that it will have no candidates for any county offices, the race for County Mayor and several other offices may be decided in the May 4 Republican primary.
Republicans Don Arnold and Dan Eldridge will face off in the mayor’s race. The primary winner will go on to run against Independent James Reeves in the August general election.
No other candidates have filed to run for mayor as of press time.
The cutoff date for filing papers to run for any county office is Thursday, Feb. 18, at noon.
As for the other races, Scott Buckingham and Forrest Boreing, both Republicans, will face off for Washington County Assessor of Property. Buckingham, the current assessor, was appointed by the Washington County Commission after former assessor Monty Treadway retired in June 2009.
The other contested county race features five Republicans competing for the County Clerk position. Current Clerk Doyle Cloyd plans to retire after his term is over.
Ron England, Tony Fowler, Sheila Haren, Scott Hyatt and Kathy Storey have picked up papers to run for the position. England is a former Washington County sheriff, Fowler a sales manager for an automotive marketing firm, and both Haren and Storey currently work in the County Clerk’s office, as Deputy Clerk and Chief Deputy Clerk, respectively.
Several Republican incumbents could end up running unopposed for their offices: County Sheriff Ed Graybeal, Trustee Jack Daniels, Circuit Court Clerk Karen Guinn, and Register of Deeds Ginger Jilton.
The chairman of the county’s Democratic party, Adam Dickson, called it a “sad moment” for the party when it had no nominees or candidates, but was optimistic about the Democrats’ future in the county.
Local Democrats need to look at local politics and “find something to get energized about,” Dickson said.
While the local party doesn’t always agree with the national Democratic party’s issues, they do share some concerns, he said, such as equal access to healthcare, fighting corporate greed and promoting home ownership.
In addition to getting involved in local issues, county Democrats need to educate residents about the existence of the party.
“We need to educate people and have a social outlet,” Dickson said. “In the next few months, we need to identify a program coordinator, and set up an e-mail and Web site where people can contact us.”