Incumbent candidate Scott Croswell will be running against Batavia Township Trustee Archie Wilson in the race for County Commissioner this November. Croswell has twice won his seat as a Republican, but he is expected to be certified as an Independent by the Board of Elections June 28.
“I believe that I am more fiscally conservative than the county’s organized Republicans would like me to be,” Croswell said.
"(The GOP has) resisted my efforts to reduce the size and cost of our local government and I feel more comfortable running as a non-partisan," Croswell said.
Republican Party Chairperson Tim Rudd said he could not speak on behalf of all the committee members, however he said Wilson has a lot of qualities he likes.
"Archie is a self-made man," Rudd said. "He has a high school education and he has become a successful master plumber and runs a successful business. He is a common sense conservative."
Wilson has owned and operated the Midwestern Plumbing Service for 32 years and has served as a Batavia Township Trustee since 2001. He ran for Commissioner in 2008 and lost in the Republican Primary to Ed Humphrey by less than five percent of the vote. Wilson said having the GOP endorsement has made a big difference in his 2010 campaign.
Croswell owns the Croswell family bus line and practices law in the county. He said he is proud of the fact that Clermont County has been able to manage its budget in such a way that has put the county government in a better financial standing than the other counties of the region during his tenure as commissioner.
"As a matter of fact, we have reduced the size of government and the cost of the government significantly," Croswell said. "All while developing a sophisticated transportation system that will spur economic development."
Wilson said both candidates in the commissioners' race could be called conservative.
"Conservative is just a buzzword right now," Archie said. "We'll see who is the more conservative candidate come November."
The Batavia Township Trustee also said that if elected he will have no conflicts of interest with in the county government.
"I will be the only elected official in my family and the only county employee," Wilson said. "I will approve no judge's budget that I have to stand before in court."
Croswell said he has no conflict of interest by practicing law in Clermont County Courts.
"If Archie understood how the county government worked he wouldn't be making these accusations," Croswell said. "There is a separation of powers independent of any control we have. The judges have been most reasonable with us and have worked with us to balance the budget."
Clermont County Common Pleas Judge William Walker said the commissioners are free to make recommendations to the courts, but the judges ultimately set their own budgets.
"We make requests for appropriations just like all other departments," Walker said. "The Commissioners have absolute authority over all other departments. Due to a separation of powers they are required to appropriate our requests unless they are unreasonable."
Walker also said judges rarely need to take action to ensure their budget proposals are approved.
"We have never had an issue with the commissioners, we might not always see eye to eye but we always come to an understanding," Walker said. "They have a good working relationship with all the elected officials."
Rudd said he is not aware of any other time in Clermont GOP history in which a Republican incumbent was not endorse and then ran as an Independent.
"Linda Fraley was endorsed over Gary Vogelgesang, but he ran against her in the primary and lost," Rudd said.
Croswell on the other hand, never filed as a Republican and instead focused his efforts on an Independent bid for re-election.
"I am confident that the Republican voters that have elected me to office on two separate occasions will continue to support me as will the other citizens of the county," Croswell said.