By Tom Davidson
Herald Staff Writer
MERCER COUNTY —
Voters winnowed the field of candidates for Mercer County Common Pleas Court judge down to two on Tuesday.
Greenville lawyer Daniel P. Wallace won the Republican nomination convincingly, outpacing his nearest competitor by more than 2,000 votes.
He’ll face off against Victor S. Heutsche, who won came out atop the Democratic ticket, in the general election in November.
“Of course I want to thank all my supporters,” an audibly exhausted Wallace said late Tuesday from the Reynolds VFW, where he ended the night with his closest supporters.
“I’m grateful for the vote of confidence,” Wallace said.
He spent the day traversing the county.
“I think I’ve driven more today than I have in my entire life,” he said.
Heutsche ended his night at the Sharon Sons of Italy home.
“I’m doing great now that I saw these results,” Heutsche said shortly after 100 percent of the unofficial vote was posted to the Internet.
“I just want to thank the people who voted for me and my supporters and my campaign team and on to the fall,” he said. “We have a lot of work to do between now and November.”
He lauded the five lawyers who sought the seat that was held by John C. Reed, who reached the mandatory retirement age when he turned 70 last year.
“I appreciate the candidates for the most part running a clean campaign,” Heutsche said.
He did mentioned he was “a little disappointed” by a challenge mounted against some of the candidates’ filing petitions – a move that booted Wallace off the Democratic ballot.
Coming up short on Tuesday were Joann Jofery, Ryan Mergl and Jim Ryan. All of them and Heutsche were cross filed. Wallace was bumped from the Democratic ballot when the challenge revealed mistakes on his nominating petitions.
In unofficial vote tallies posted Tuesday, Wallace garnered 3,748 votes or 59.8 percent of the votes on the GOP side.
His closes opponent was Ryan, who picked up 1,232 Republican votes. Heutsche got 676 votes, Jofery 373 and Mergl came up short with just 217 Republican votes.
On the Democratic ballot, Heutsche took 34.2 percent, 2,179 votes. His closest opponents were Ryan with 1,511 votes and Jofery with 1,107 votes. Mergl picked up 690 Democratic votes.