Washington County sheriff’s race too close to call


Washington County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Mark Warden, left, talks to supporters as he waits for primary election results Tuesday night. Warden is running for sheriff. (Photo by Michelle Dillon)

The unofficial election results for the Washington County Sheriff’s Republican primary race are in, and the winner is… Mark Warden? Greg Nohe? No one knows.

Washington County Sheriff’s Deputy Mark Warden, and former Washington County Jail administrator and former member of the Marietta Police Department Greg Nohe were competing in the Republican primary to be the unofficial winner. There were no Democrats running in the primary, so the winner of the Republican primary will still participate in the general election in November, according to Washington County Board of Elections Director Mandy Amos, but with no Democrats running in the general election, the winner of Tuesday night’s Republican primary will be the next sheriff of Washington County.

As of 9:13 p.m. Tuesday, the Washington County Board of Elections website showed all 50 precincts reporting and that 10,879 votes had been cast, with Warden receiving 5,450 votes or 50.10% of the votes and Nohe receiving 5,429 votes or 49.90%. That is a difference of 21 votes.

Earlier in the night, there had been more distance between the candidates when the Board of Elections was reporting as of 8:08 p.m. Tuesday, that according to the Washington County Board of Elections website, 6,044 votes had been counted, with Warden netting 3,305 votes or 54.68% of the vote and Nohe garnering 2,739 votes or 45.32% of the votes. These votes were for 22 precincts of the 50 precincts in the county reporting their votes.

The sheriff’s race was marked by accusations by outgoing Sheriff Larry Mincks, who endorsed Warden, that Nohe had planned a fundraiser that violated Ohio Revised Code Section 2915.092, which states only certain tax-exempt organizations are allowed to conduct raffles in Ohio. Nohe had a fundraising raffle scheduled for Feb. 24. He said he had checked with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office and neither they nor the state’s campaign finance handbook prohibit raffles for campaign fundraising. His campaign ultimately decided to hold an auction instead of a raffle.

Each candidate garnered multiple endorsements.

“We just have to wait until the process is over,” Warden said about the close votes.

He said the race is too close to call and he will have to wait until the provisional ballots are processed by the Board of Elections.

When asked if he thought Nohe would ask for a recount with the vote being so close, Warden said, “If I was him, I would.”

Nohe said he thinks there are still some votes out for the sheriff’s race, and when asked if he would seek a recount if after the provisional ballots are counted the vote is still close he said, “Absolutely.”

Nohe is not giving up on the race yet.

“I’m not conceding by any means,” Nohe said.

Washington County Board of Elections Clerk Emily Webb confirmed there are provisional ballots that the Board of Elections will still have to deal with. There are 92 provisional ballots that will not be processed yet, 61 provisional ballots that will arrive by mail and 14 provisional ballots that voters will have until Saturday to correct issues on, like transposed driver’s license numbers.

Whoever becomes the new Washington County Sheriff will take office on Jan. 6, 2025.

Michelle Dillon can be reached at mdillon@newsandsentinel.com

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