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OU senior joins 2 others bidding for Sullivan's seat

The list of those who are challenging embattled Athens County Commissioner Mark Sullivan for his seat just got even longer, with the election still more than a calendar year away.

Ohio University senior Ibriham Alassaf, a Democrat who unsuccessfully ran in the Athens City Council primary in May, has thrown his hat in the race.

Alassaf, who is a lifelong Athens County resident and an Ohio University student studying pre-law and history, said the position would allow him to help Athens County prosper.

Though it could take some time, Alassaf said one of his main goals is to bring jobs to the area via a solar panel factory.

Alassaf placed last of six candidates in the Democratic primary for an at large council seat in May, receiving just less than 5 percent of the vote. But a poor spring performance won’t deter him from getting his name back on a local budget.

“I didn’t do that well for (the) Council (race), but that isn’t going to stop me from trying,” Alassaf said. “I don’t think enough is being done for the county and I want to change that.”

County commissioners oversee the 911 emergency phone system, serve as the contracting authority of the county, appoint members to boards throughout the county, and set the budgets for elected offices, said current Athens County Commissioner Lenny Eliason.

With regular employment, custody of his two younger siblings, and his late father’s estate under his management, Alassaf said he feels he is able to be a county commissioner.

“As far as I’m concerned, I don’t see that you need any qualifications other than being 18 and a resident of the county,” Alassaf said.

The announcement makes Alassaf the third person to publically declare that they will take on the incumbent Sullivan, who was first elected in 1998.

In recent months, there have been calls for Sullivan to resign amid domestic violence and drug allegations.

The Ohio Attorney General’s office is investigating whether Sullivan grew or knew about 39 marijuana plants recovered from his property and was reported to police by his estranged wife.

Former Nelsonville City Councilman Bob Baughman and Shade, Ohio, resident Mike O’Brien have also announced their bids for Sullivan’s seat. However, Sullivan is the only one of the four to have filed his candidacy petition to the

Athens County Board of Elections.

Both O’Brien and Alassaf said recent events surrounding Sullivan did not influence their decisions to run.

“Mark is a good guy,” Alassaf said. “He has done a good job.”

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