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Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Lake, Geauga state Senate district to change?

Last week, I wrote that after redistricting is completed, it’s quite possible that Lake County could wind up with three Ohio House of Representatives districts.

The change could occur because Ashtabula and Trumbull counties have lost population while Lake County has gained during the past 10 years.

Ashtabula County also shares a portion of the 99th House District with five townships in Trumbull County.

That Trumbull County territory shared with Ashtabula County might be needed for other House districts in Trumbull.

So if that scenario happens it would dramatically change how the 18th Senate District is shaped because state law requires each Ohio Senate District to contain three House districts.

Currently, the district is comprised of Lake, Geauga and portions of eastern Cuyahoga counties and is represented by state Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chester Township.

The House districts within the 18th Senate District are the 62nd, consisting of western Lake County and Concord Township, and the 63rd, consisting of Mentor and eastern Lake County, plus the 98th that consists of Geauga County, and Gates Mills, Highland Heights and Mayfield Village in Cuyahoga County.

If the Madison area is joined with the 99th House District, as is quite possible, then Lake County’s Ohio Senate district would most likely be redrawn so that the district is comprised of Lake and Ashtabula counties, dropping Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties. Just like it was 10 years ago.

Geauga County’s new state Senate district would likely move south toward Portage County and potentially into the eastern portion of Summit County.

Best guess is Geauga County’s new Senate district and the 98th House District would no longer include Cuyahoga County.

So if Lake County joins with Ashtabula County to form a Senate district, how would that affect potential partisan candidates?

Ashtabula County with 65,010 registered voters traditionally leans Democrat and had 19,594 Democrats and 10,069 Republicans registered at last count.

Lake County, known as a bellwether county, has 157,387 registered voters who are mostly independent. The county had 11,241 Democrats and 12,577 Republicans registered at last count.

So when the political parties nominate candidates in primary elections in 2012 for state Senate, could it be a Lake County Republican vs. an Ashtabula County Democrat?

You may remember that Roaming Shores Democrat Robert Boggs, former Ohio Department of Agriculture chief, county commissioner and state representative, was the 18th District’s senator in the 1990s prior to the tenure of Republican Robert A. Gardner of Madison Township.

Concord trustee bid?
Is attorney Erik L. Walter planning another bid to run for Concord Township trustee this November? Trustee Connie Luhta is up this year. Walter ran for trustee in November 2009, but lost to Trustees Christopher A. Galloway and Paul R. Malchesky. Walter and Bob Patterson also ran in 2007, but Luhta fended off their challenge.

n Willoughby Hills Mayor Robert M. Weger: 5 to 7:30 p.m., Wednesday at Willoughby Hills Community Center for “Envision the Future” pasta dinner. See Tom Lobe, Gloria Majeski or Darleen Weger.

n Karen Kowall, candidate for Willoughby Municipal Court judge: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 3 at Pine Ridge Country Club, Wickliffe. See Marisa Cornachio or Dana Lutz.
n Lake Commissioner Dan Troy: Mardi Gras Party, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 8 at Holiday Inn Express LaMalfa Centre in Mentor. See Kip Molenaar.

n Jamie Callender, candidate for Ohio Senate, will host a Mardi Gras party from 6 to 8 p.m. March 8, at the Quail Hollow Inn in Concord Township. See Jamie or Heidi Callender.

John Arthur Hutchison’s column appears Sundays in The News-Herald.
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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