By Ralph Echtinaw
The filing deadline has passed, and this year’s slate of county commission candidates has been established.
Voters in St. Louis, Bethany Township and Alma’s Precinct 2 will chose between longtime Republican Commissioner Janice Jean Bunting, 72, of St. Louis and this reporter, 62, of St. Louis in the District 2 Republican primary on Aug. 2. The winner takes on David Harrington Justin, 70, of Alma in the general election. Justin has been an Alma school board member since 2005.
Bunting is seeking reelection for the 11th time, having served on the commission since 2001.
St. Louis Clerk Mari Anne Ryder said absentee ballots will likely be mailed to voters who request them shortly after June 18.
District 1 Commissioner John Anderson Lemmermann, 58, of Alma has primary opponents on both ends of the age spectrum in the form of Republicans Maria Abigale Kolb, 20, of Pine River Township and David Joseph Owens, 72, of Seville Township. The latter is a former supervisor of Seville Township. Whoever wins the primary will face Democrat Brent William DeVries, 42, of Alma in the general election.
District 3 is the only one lacking an incumbent after last year’s redrawing of county commission districts. Republicans Justin James Barnaby, 44, of Alma and Timothy James Gay, 69, of Emerson Township will face off in the primary. Barnaby has been on the Alma School Board since 2015. The winner faces Democrat Michael Joseph Lynch, 62, of Alma in November.
No Democrat is running in District 4, but there are two Republican candidates; incumbent Samuel Anthony Smith, 69, of Perrinton, and Bonnie Jean Gustavison, 68, of Sumner.
The District 5 race will be between incumbent George Harold Bailey, 74, of Ithaca, and challenger Brett Cameron Baublitz, 50, of Ithaca, in the Republican primary with Democrat Sylvia Roberts Flegel, 73, facing the winner in November. Baublitz is director of the Alma Transit Authority and on the Ithaca City Council. He challenged Bailey two years ago but lost in the primary 812-848. Bailey is a former mayor of Ithaca.