UPDATE: Unofficial final results of Washington County primary are in

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BELPRE, Ohio (WTAP) - According to the unofficial final results, Judith Drake is the winner of the Republican candidate for Belpre mayor.

It was a close race. She won the vote by 51.37%. John McClead won by 48.63%.

The full summary is attached to this article under "Related Documents."



There are two candidates in the Republican Washington County primary in the running to challenge incumbent Democratic Mayor Michael Lorentz in November.

Judith Drake is near the end of her term as a member of Belpre City Council. She says the city's ordinances need to be brought up to date, to be brought in line with Ohio law.

"Even the council members need to be more aware of the ordinances they govern over. When you're an elected official, you have a responsibility to the community, the people who put you there."

Another candidate, John McClead, believes the city's streets-beyond Belpre's main business thoroughfares-need more attention from city leaders.

"I've been to council meetings, and no one ever seemed to have a whole lot to report. 'No report at this time, no report at this time'. I think, if you drive around town, you can see a lot of things."

There are also contested Republican races for Belpre City Council.

Incumbent members Susan Abdella and Donna Miller will face David Ferguson and Larry Martin for the three council at-large seats.

And fourth ward council member Penne Riffle is challenged by Kelly Cox.

While there has been business development in the city in recent years, Drake believes not enough is being done to expand the city's economic development even further.

"We do not have enough homes," Drake says, "and if you do not have enough homes to offer newcomers, they're not going to relocate here."

McClead, a former city employee, says more of the city's services should be provided in-house.

"They farm so much out," he says, referring to the trend of hiring private contractors to do city labor. "Get it back; they're contracting everything out."

In another development, Belpre City Council President Will Neff, meanwhile, has withdrawn as a candidate for re-election.

Neff says he will have an announcement to make at the April 22 city council meeting.



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