The Athens County Democratic party held a “straw poll” event and breakfast in late February during which attendees were asked to vote on which candidate they prefer for the Democratic nominee for U.S. president, as well as in several local and regional races.

With about 60 or so people attending – including a significant number of local elected officials – the top choice among the attendees for president was U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (prior to her decision to withdraw from of the race), with 19 votes, followed by U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (11 votes) and former Vice President Joe Biden (10 votes).

All the numbers used in this article should come with a caveat: The breakfast had a $25 fee to get in (half of that if you were an OU student), and most of the attendees were aged 40 and up, with very few college-aged attendees.

Meanwhile, in the two contested local races, the local Democrats had solid favorites in both races.

In the poll for Athens County Common Pleas probate/juvenile judge, Assistant Athens County Prosecutor Zach Saunders won 40 votes to local attorney Rusty Rittenhouse’s 17.

Meanwhile, in the poll for Athens County Treasurer, incumbent Ric Wasserman received 53 votes compared to challenger Peter Kotses’ seven votes. Wasserman is a local business owner (he owns Bella Vino and The Pigskin) and was appointed to the treasurer position in mid-2018; he won election to that position later that year in the general election. Kotses is the owner of Athens Bicycle and is currently serving his second term as an at-large Athens City Council member.

Additionally, the attendees had a clear favorite in the poll for the Democratic nomination for the Ohio 15th District U.S. Congress seat: Democrat Joel Newby, who received 49 votes to Democrat Daniel Kilgore’s one vote (although Newby was the only one who spoke during the breakfast; Kilgore did not).

Newby and Kilgore spoke during a candidate forum last month; you can find coverage of that event here.

There are also videos of the candidate forums for the local candidates mentioned above listed below:

• Athens County Treasurer candidate forum (from March 10).

• Athens County Common Pleas Court Probate/Juvenile Court candidate forum (from Feb. 6).

Ohio’s primary election is rapidly approaching, taking place next Tuesday, March 17.

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