Arian Smedley and Sam Miller

Sam Miller, left, and Arian Smedley are running for the First Ward seat on Athens City Council in the May Democratic Primary.

With the deadline for partisan candidates for Athens city government to file petitions with the Athens County Board of Elections this past Wednesday, so far only Democrats have filed to run for City Council and other offices.

Two candidates have filed for the Athens City Council First Ward seat since The NEWS reported that current First Ward representative Kent Butler will not seek re-election this year. Those candidates are longtime Athens resident Arian Smedley and recent Ohio University graduate Sam Miller.

Miller announced her campaign in a Facebook post on Feb. 1.

“After working on campaigns for the last couple of years, I’m ready to work on my own,” Miller stated in the post. “...I’ve been lucky enough to call the West Side home during my time in Athens, and I’m ready to work to revitalize and represent it! If you’re interested in learning more about my campaign, please reach out… I’m beyond excited for this opportunity.”

At age 23, Miller is the youngest person running for a city office. In a Facebook message on Friday, Miller said that she graduated from OU last May.

“I’m a first-time candidate, and if elected to council, I’ll be the only renter,” Miller said.

Smedley, who has served on City Council once before, said that she and her family have resided on the West Side for years. In the summer of 2017, Smedley took an at-large seat vacated by former City Council member Jennifer Cochran, and ran unsuccessfully for an at-large seat in 2017.

“Public service is what I do now as a profession,” said Smedley, who currently serves as assistant superintendent for the Athens County Board of Developmental Disabilities. “...This is what I want to do, this is what I do now, and this is what I want (to enhance by studying Public Administration),” Smedley said Friday.

Smedley has lived in Athens for nearly 10 years, she said, adding that she was “essentially raised in Athens” before that. “This is where my parents decided to settle when I was 8… I’m very familiar and have an appreciation for the city, the culture and the people,” she said.

Both Smedley and Miller can be reached on Facebook, and Smedley can also be reached via email at

All City Council seats are up for election this year. All but two of the incumbent council members have filed the necessary paperwork to run again, including at-large members Pete Kotses and Sarah Grace, Fourth Ward representative Chris Fahl, Third Ward representative Sam Crowl, and Second Ward representative Jeff Risner.

First-time candidate and Athens resident Beth Clodfelter is also running this year for an at-large council seat.

Other city officials who are seeking re-election include Council President Chris Knisely, Law Director Lisa Eliason, City Auditor Kathy Hecht, and Mayor Steve Patterson. No other partisan candidates filed to run against them before Wednesday’s deadline.

First Ward City Council representative Butler, a Democrat, and at-large Council member Patrick McGee, a non-partisan official, each have confirmed that they do not plan to run for re-election.

All candidates so far are Democrats. The filing deadline for non-partisan candidates is Aug. 7 (90 days before the general election) at 4 p.m., and the number of valid petition signatures needed is at least 50, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s 2019 Candidate Guide.

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