Republican incumbents and their Democrat challengers for the two Ohio House of Representatives districts covering southwestern Licking County will be running unopposed in the March 6 primary.

Republican incumbents and their Democrat challengers for the two Ohio House of Representatives districts covering southwestern Licking County will be running unopposed in the March 6 primary.

The 71st and 72nd Ohio House districts both touch ThisWeek Reynoldsburg's circulation area.

The 72nd District was formerly the 91st, but the newly drawn state-legislature districts take effect this election cycle. State Democrats had challenged the district boundaries, which were drawn by the Republican-dominated Apportionment Board, but a 6-1 ruling last week by the Ohio Supreme Court will keep the districts in place for at least the 2012 races, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

All four candidates will advance to the November election. Independents may still file by the March 5 deadline.

In the 71st District, Republican Jay Hottinger will defend his seat in November against Democrat Brady Jones.

Hottinger, 42, is serving his third consecutive term representing the 71st District in the Ohio House. Prior to that, he represented the 77th Ohio House District and the 31st Senate District.

The lifelong Newark resident also is a former Newark City Council member and was elected as the council's president pro tempore.

Hottinger attended Newark High School and graduated from Capital University, where he majored in political science and public administration.

Hottinger said he is running for another term to keep things in Ohio - and Licking County - going in the "right direction." He said Ohio has made many recent gains in terms of job creation and Licking County's unemployment levels are decreasing, but that does not mean the work is done.

"There's still an incredible amount of work that needs to be done to transform Ohio's economy and make us competitive," he said. "Licking County is doing better than 74 of the 88 counties (in terms of unemployment) but none of us are happy with the status quo."

Jones, 41, also is a Newark resident. He is a Newark High School graduate with five years of trade school training at Owens Community College.

Jones has been a pipefitter for 17 years out of Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union 189. He also sells real estate.

He is running for his first stint in public office, although he said he's spoken in from of the both the Ohio Senate and House on several occasions, mainly to discuss labor issues.

"I'm tired of seeing the middle class get beat up," he said.

Brady said someone needs to be in office who will represent the core values of the people who elected him.

In the 72nd District, Democrat David Dilly will try to unseat incumbent Bill Hayes.

Dilly, 66, is Coshocton County recorder and an Air Force veteran who served in the Vietnam War.

Following an honorable discharge, the Fresno resident worked as a mechanic at a truck-leasing company and then in the coal mine industry for nearly 19 years. He was elected to a district board member position and served in that capacity before taking a voluntary layoff. He then enrolled at Zane State College through a grant for dislocated workers and graduated with a degree in applied science with certificates in accounting and business management.

He eventually was appointed to county recorder and then was elected to that position two times. He also is serving a fourth term as White Eyes Township fiscal officer.

"Service to my community and love of my country are my passions," he said.

He said he also believes he can help local political parties unite.

"Everything is partisan this, partisan that," said Dilly. "I think I can help change that."

Hayes, 68, is vying for his second term. The Granville resident currently represents the 91st District.

Hayes received his bachelor of science degree from Capital University, his master of arts from The Ohio State University and his law degree from Capital University Law School. His work experience includes, in part, time as a high school teacher and coach, positions in industrial management and information systems development, attorney, court magistrate, city law director and owner of a small business.

He said his experience as an incumbent representative and in his various fields provides him with unique qualifications to serve.

He said he is running again because the region he represents is working to create an environment to invite new businesses and encourage existing businesses to remain and expand, and he believes that effort is showing signs of success.

"We still have a lot of work to do," he said. "It's pretty simple."

- ThisWeek staff writer Neil Thompson contributed to this story.