LIMA — Lima Mayor David Berger has officially filed for re-election, as has a former city councilman who is seeking to represent the First Ward.
Berger and Ray Magnus, who represented Lima’s First Ward from 2005 to 2009, made their bids for election at the Allen County Board of Elections on Thursday. They are each running for a four-year term.
Berger is seeking his eighth term as mayor of Lima. He has served as the city’s chief executive officer since 1989.
This election, the long-time mayor will have some competition. Allen County Republican Party Chairman Keith Cheney announced his mayoral run in August, though he has not officially filed for election with the board.
Magnus, a former police officer and military veteran, served on city council for one term before he decided to run for council president. He lost to current Lima City Council President John Nixon. In the 2017 election, Magnus is running against current First Ward Councilman Todd Gordon.
Magnus said his experience as an elected official, a police officer and a military veteran gives him an advantage over other candidates like Gordon.
“The experience I have from working with people makes me better prepared to handle this upcoming election cycle,” Magnus said.
He added that he is willing to “push the issues,” which he has not seen from current council members. The main issue he plans to focus on if elected is the heroin epidemic.
“We need to make sure our safety services are top priority in this city because of everything going on with the heroin addicts and the heroin trade,” he said. “I think I can be very beneficial in that area because of my experience.”
Magnus said another major priority is saving taxpayers’ money.
“As a council person I think I did a good job of saving the taxpayers’ money, and I want to continue doing that,” he said.
For Berger, being re-elected as mayor would ensure the “enormous amount of projects” the city is undergoing get done.
“I decided this past summer that this is not a time to step away,” Berger said. “We had too many projects that were rapidly coming together the next several years that will require a great deal of time and energy. The next two or three years will be really a demanding time to continue to make certain that those projects actually come to fruition.”
Some of the major projects Berger was referring to included the Rhodes State College expansion in downtown Lima, the First National Bank redevelopment and the Elm Street rail grade separation.
Berger said he is looking forward to discussing these projects with voters during the election cycle.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to once again connect with voters, talk about what’s being accomplished and ultimately I hope to be rehired by the voters to serve as the city’s chief executive,” he said.
Along with Magnus and Berger, Gordon and Third Ward city council candidate Michael Birchfield have filed for election with the board. The deadline to file for mayor, council, auditor and director of law is Feb. 1.
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima