An extension of the candidate filing deadline has resulted in Democrat Pat Lang and Republican Steve Stivers both facing opposition in the March primary election for Ohio’s 15th District seat in Congress.

Stivers, who currently represents the 15th District, and Lang, who is Athens law director, were the only candidates to file by Dec. 7, which had been the filing deadline. Republicans Charles Chope and Ralph Applegate, both of Columbus, and Democrat Scott Wharton of Amanda have since filed.

The 15th District includes all of Athens County, except Carthage and Troy Twps.

Because of a dispute over new congressional district boundaries, the state had planned to hold two primaries — one in March for U.S. Senate and local races, and one in June for U.S. House and presidential races. Legislation was approved last month to consolidate the primaries in March, and it also extended the filing deadline for congressional races to last Friday.

A spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections said Chope, Applegate and Wharton all filed under the extended deadline. The three candidates could not be reached by The Messenger for comment Wednesday.

The new 15th District includes all of Fairfield, Hocking, Madison, Morgan, Perry, Vinton, Pickaway and Clinton Counties, and parts of Fayette, Athens, Franklin and Ross Counties. Carthage and Troy Twps. of Athens County are in the 6th Congressional District.

According to Athens County Board of Elections Deputy Director Penny Brooks, a June primary for the congressional and presidential candidates would have cost the county about $60,000. That cost would have included ballot printing, poll worker payments and other expenses. The state had said it would reimburse the counties for the extra primary.

Brooks said she believes having two primaries would have been confusing for voters. She said the board was notified on Dec. 15 that the proposal to have two primaries had been repealed. “We were very tickled,” Brooks said. The proposal to have two primaries was introduced in October and was intended to give lawmakers more time to come up with new congressional district maps. A second primary would have cost the state an additional $15 million. Ohio House Bill 329 repealed the two-primary proposal.

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