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Tensions escalating in Republican primary race for Seneca County Sheriff

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From left: David Pahl, Matthew Huffman, Fred Stevens

The Republican primary race for Seneca County Sheriff is heating up after the county Board of Elections denied a challenge to the candidacy of Tiffin Police Chief Fred Stevens.

The failed challenge to Stevens’ candidacy, filed by area resident Thomas Daniel, is raising new questions in regards to how the race will play out from now until the March primary election.

Daniel said that he was concerned Stevens hadn’t followed requirements laid out in the Ohio Revised Code for county sheriff candidates.


Sheriff candidates are required by the ORC to submit FBI background check information and fingerprints. Daniel argued that Stevens hadn’t submitted those necessary documents on time, and because of that, his name should not appear on the March primary ballot.

Daniel is reportedly connected to one of Stevens’ opponents in the Republican primary race: Captain David Pahl of the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, according to two sources familiar with the situation who wished to remain anonymous.

TiffinOhio.net News reached out to Pahl for comment on the situation, but he declined to comment.

The Board of Elections voted unanimously on Tuesday to deny the challenge to Stevens’ candidacy.

“I’m thankful that they voted unanimously against the protest,” Stevens said in a statement to TiffinOhio.net News.


“I had done everything in my power to get the FBI prints to them on time. I paid for three different sets at three different locations,” Stevens said. “I kept them informed of the delay which was due to the US Mail and the crunch of the holiday season.”

Current Seneca County Sheriff Bill Eckelberry had submitted petitions to run for re-election, but withdrew them before last week’s candidate filing deadline.

In addition to Stevens and Pahl, former SCSO Deputy Matthew Huffman will appear on the Republican primary ballot for sheriff in March.

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