By JOY BROWN
Nine local or regional candidates are unopposed in Tuesday’s primary election in Hancock County.
Four of them won’t face opposition in November, either, unless an independent candidate suddenly appears. Today is the deadline for independent candidates to file candidacy petitions for the November general election.
These nine candidates have no opponents on Tuesday:
83rd House District
The 83rd Ohio House District encompasses Hancock, Hardin and part of Logan counties.
State Rep. Robert Sprague, 40, of 830 S. Main St., is a Republican serving his second term following his appointment to the seat in February 2011. He was previously Findlay’s auditor.
Sprague earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering from Duke University, and a master’s in business administration from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He worked at Ernst and Young consulting firm, and had created his own firm prior to working for the city.
In November, Sprague will square off with Greg Norris, 50, of 210 Miami Road, Rushsylvania, who is running on the Libertarian ticket.
Norris served in the Ohio National Guard and U.S. Army Reserves. He now works as an emergency medical technician and is also a volunteer firefighter. He made an unsuccessful bid for a seat on Bellefontaine City Council.
State representatives serve two-year terms. In 2013 they were paid $60,584.
5th Congressional District
The 5th Congressional District encompasses Williams, Fulton, Lucas, Wood, Hancock, Henry, Defiance, Paulding, Van Wert, Mercer, Hardin and Wyandot counties.
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, 57, of 1528 Muirfield Drive, Bowling Green, is a Republican who is serving his third term. He received a bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University, and a law degree from the University of Toledo in 1981.
Before joining the U.S. House, he worked as Wood County commissioner and for Toledo Trust Co.
Latta will face two challengers in November, Democrat Robert Fry and Libertarian Eric Eberly.
Fry, 63, of 4786 Violet Road, Toledo, is a Navy veteran and is senior pastor at Heritage Church of God in Toledo. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist College and from Delphos Jefferson High School.
Eberly, 29, of 883 Sand Ridge Road, Bowling Green, graduated with a degree in small business management from Owens Community College.
Eberly is a licensed Realtor for A.A. Green Real Estate and a former chef. He was a Libertarian candidate for the 5th District seat in the 2012 general election, earning 3.6 percent of the vote.
U.S. House members serve two-year terms. In 2013 they made $174,000 a year.
3rd District Court
Judge Vern Preston faces no competition in his bid for another term on the 3rd District Court of Appeals, based in Lima.
The 3rd District is the state appeals court for Allen, Auglaize, Crawford, Defiance, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Marion, Mercer, Paulding, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Union, Van Wert and Wyandot counties.
Preston, 63, of 700 Winterhaven Drive, Findlay, was appointed in 2007 and was elected in 2008. The Republican previously served on Findlay Municipal Court for 13 years. The U.S. Navy veteran is also an adjunct professor of equine law at the University of Findlay.
Preston is a University of Toledo law school graduate. He earned his undergraduate degree from Findlay College.
Appeals court judges serve six-year terms. Preston earned $132,000 last year.
Common Pleas Court
Also without an election opponent is Hancock County Common Pleas Court Judge Joseph Niemeyer.
Niemeyer, 64, of 203 Bittersweet Drive, has been on the common pleas bench since 1991. The Republican was previously a lawyer and Hancock County prosecutor.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Zavier University, and his law degree from Ohio Northern University.
Common pleas court judges serve six-year terms. In 2013, Judge Niemeyer earned $121,350.
Juvenile and Probate Court
Hancock County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Allan Davis, who was first elected in 1974, is not eligible to run again due to state age limitations for judges.
Kristen Johnson, a Republican, is seeking to succeed him and is unopposed.
Johnson, 48, of 3338 Ridgeview Drive, has been Hancock County Juvenile Court magistrate since 2010.
Prior to that she was a county assistant prosecutor for 17 years.
She is the founder and past president of the Hancock County Center for Safe and Healthy Children.
Johnson earned a bachelor’s degree from Rochester Institute of Technology, and her law degree from the University of Toledo.
The term is for six years. Last year, Judge Davis earned $121,350.
Hancock County Auditor Charity Rauschenberg, a Republican, faces no challengers.
Rauschenberg, 46, of 15943 Wolf Run, in Marion Township, was appointed to the post in January 2004. She was previously the top accountant in the auditor’s office for 10 years.
Earlier, she was a private sector accountant for Volvo White GMC, and an accountant/auditor with the Findlay-based accounting firm Buckingham and Associates.
She earned a bachelor’s degree from Ashland University.
The Hancock County auditor serves a four-year term. In 2013, Rauschenberg earned $68,390.