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One contested race in Belmont County on Tuesday

Ferry council seat lone contested primary election in county

MARTINS FERRY — Ohio’s primary election is Tuesday, and there is just one race on the ballot in Belmont County.

Martins Ferry City Councilman Rick Rodgers is being challenged for his council seat by Martins Ferry resident Larry Deaton. Rodgers, a Democrat, respresents the city’s Fourth Ward. Deaton also is a Democrat. The winner of Tuesday’s race will go on to the November General Election.

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday for the primary.

About the candidates

Rodgers has served on council for more than three years. Deaton said previously he ran for council in the past but did not win. He said he is running this time because people in the community asked him to do so.

Rodgers, who works as a private caregiver, holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Ohio University. He previously worked as an educator in the Roman Catholic school systems for the Diocese of Steubenville and Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. He also has worked in business.

As a member of council, Rodgers serves on the finance, audit, annexation, code administration and safety committees and is chairman of the street and public relations committees. He also is liaison to the division of development and to the Martins Ferry Chamber of Commerce.

Rodgers is a member of St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Martins Ferry, where he is a choir member, cantor and eucharistic minister. He also is a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Project Forward group and of the Elks Lodge 231, where is he is a trustee and past exalted ruler.

Deaton, a lifelong resident of Martins Ferry, is a retired electrician with the city of Martins Ferry. He also recently retired from the Martins Ferry Park District Board after 17 years. He drives school buses for the Martins Ferry City School District.

He and his wife, Sylvia Ritchey Deaton, have been married since 1964. They have two adult children and five grandchildren.

Before working for the city, Deaton worked at Weirton Steel Co. for 37 years. He also worked as a wrestling official for 52 years in Ohio and West Virginia. Deaton served on the Martins Ferry City Schools Board of Education from 1990-94.

Some of Deaton’s awards include Martins Ferry High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1989; OVAC Mr. Mat in 1992; Ohio Wrestling Officials Hall of Fame Charter Member in 1994; OVAC renamed its coaches’ official of the year to Larry Deaton’s Official of the Year; OHSSA Hall of Fame in 2004; National Wrestling Hall of Fame, Ohio Chapter 2016 and Martins Ferry School Wall of Fame in 2018. Deaton wrestled for Martins Ferry High and was a four-year starter. He was an OVAC and district champion.

He also was a three-year starter on the football team.

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