Trumbull GOP will miss court filing deadline | News, Sports, Jobs

Time will be ticking on the Trumbull County Republican Party for a candidate’s name to appear on the Nov. 8 ballot for the vacant Common Pleas Court seat.

The filing deadline for Democrats and Republicans to put one candidate each on the ballot for the judgeship is 4 p.m. Monday.

Michael Bollas, who became the county’s GOP chairman on Aug. 4, said Thursday his party would not submit a candidate by the deadline.

“We’re in a dilemma here, and I don’t know how to solve it,” Bollas said. “Nobody knows how to solve it.”

Peter Kontos, a Democrat, retired on July 31 with more than four years remaining in his term. Kontos announced the decision on July 19.

Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, is to name his successor, but that person would only serve until the Nov. 8 election results are certified.

Republican county officials just learned of Monday’s filing deadline and don’t want to name anyone who hasn’t been endorsed by DeWine, Bollas said.

“The governor has to choose him,” he said. “There is nothing we can do about it. We cannot control this. The board of elections and the governor’s time are not in our hands.

Meanwhile, the county’s Democratic Central Committee voted Thursday to select Brookfield’s Cynthia Westcott Rice, an 11th District Court of Appeals judge since 2003, as its nominee.

“I understand the conflict (for Republicans) with what the governor wants and the candidate selection process,” Rice said.

Asked about not having an opponent, Rice said, “That would be nice, but I’m not going to hold my breath about it. I will still campaign.

Trumbull Democratic Chairman Mark Alberini said Rice, who would be the first female common pleas judge in county history, “is by far the most qualified, experienced and respected judicial nominee that this party or any party could have put on the ballot.As Democratic President, I will be 100% behind Cynthia Rice and all Democratic candidates.I can only control what I can control.

Stephanie Penrose, director of the Board of Elections, said Republicans don’t even have the option of fielding a fictitious nominee who would be replaced by the person named DeWine. Indeed, Monday is also the deadline for replacing candidates who ran for the Nov. 8 ballot due to withdrawal, vacancy, death or other reasons, she said. declared.

Penrose said Bollas called her on Wednesday and came to the council office on Thursday to discuss the schedule.

“I explained the situation to him and he didn’t think they would be able to get anyone in by Monday,” Penrose said of Bollas. “They didn’t realize Monday was the deadline.”

Penrose, a Republican, said the board of elections had no obligation to notify political parties of filing deadlines.

“It’s up to the parties to figure out how to go about it,” she said. “I am happy to answer questions if asked. No one (from the Republican Party) contacted me until “Wednesday”.

She said Alberini “reached out to me right away and part of it didn’t.”

Alberini is also chairman of the board of elections, but Penrose stressed that he contacted her and not the other way around.

“My legal counsel says I can’t advise anyone, but I can answer questions,” Penrose said.

Republicans have until 4 p.m. on Aug. 29 to submit a candidate in writing. But that person’s name would not appear on the Nov. 8 ballot against Rice. Instead, there would be a blank space for voters to write on that person’s behalf.

“Writing is an option,” Bollas said.

Asked about the challenge of a win in writing, Bollas said: “It’s going to be tough.”

Dan Tierney, DeWine spokesman, said there have been discussions with Republican officials at Trumbull, but no recommendations have been received from them.

DeWine’s office had requested the names of three finalists.

Bollas said the party’s nominating committee interviewed Warren’s Margo S. Meola and Weathersfield’s David Engler on Thursday and will interview Sarah Thomas Kovoor on Monday.

After that, Trumbull Republicans will rush names to DeWine, Bollas said.

But DeWine won’t have time to select a person by Monday’s 4 p.m. deadline, Bollas said.

Liberty Township Trustee Devon Stanley, who had expressed interest in the nomination, will not seek it, Bollas said.

Robert Carr, First Vice Chairman of the Republican Party Trumbull, said July 26, when he was acting chairman, that the names of three candidates would be released to DeWine’s office by August 2. But on August 4, he said there was no rush. and the party planned to slow down the selection process.

The timing of Kontos’ early retirement explains why there was no primary for the rest of his term and why central party committees had to nominate candidates.

Based on Article IV, Section 13 of the Ohio Constitution, Kontos’ seat is on the ballot “at the first general election for the vacated office held more than 40 days after the vacancy” .

Kontos retired on July 31, well before the November 8 election but after the May 3 primaries.

The person elected in November will serve the remainder of Kontos’ term, which expires on December 31, 2026.

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