Blogs > Northern Ohio Local Politics

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, August 31, 2012

Chagrin Falls student interns with Sen. Sherrod Brown

Alex Penler of Chagrin Falls is serving as a legislative intern in U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s Capitol Hill office. Penler is currently pursuing a degree in political science and history at St. Mary’s College.

“Ohio students – like Alex – exemplify how strong families, teachers, and Ohio communities continue to produce the next generation of world-class leaders,” Brown said. “An internship allows students from either Ohio schools or Ohio communities to serve their state while gaining invaluable experience by working on a wide range of projects.”

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I really love what I am doing and am proud to work for Sen. Sherrod Brown,” Penler said.

Interns work alongside staff members to address constituent requests and concerns. In Washington, D.C., a typical day could include speaking with constituents on the phone, greeting visitors to the office, organizing incoming correspondence, attending Senate committee hearings and briefings, and leading tours of the U.S. Capitol Building.

Students may earn college credit in addition to the educational benefit and professional development opportunities.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Today's GOP convention schedule for Ohio delegation

Ohio’s Auditor of State Dave Yost will today host the Ohio delegation breakfast at the Mainsail Conference Center in Tampa at 8:30 a.m. with special guests:

* Bob Bennett, Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party
* Clarence Mingo, Franklin County Auditor
* Andrea Tantaros, Fox News Personality
* Reince Priebus, Chairman of the Republican National Committee
* Condoleezza Rice, 66th U.S. Secretary of State
* Tagg Romney

To watch the event live, visit: and then click on the Watch Live Here tab in the upper right corner.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Today's GOP convention schedule for Ohio delegation (w/video)

Below is the schedule of Ohio delegation events for August 28 at the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

“We Build It”

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine will feature Rick Santorum for Ohio Delegation Breakfast.

All Ohio delegation breakfasts are located at the Mainsail Conference Center. Breakfasts are open to delegates, alternates, honorary delegates, sponsors and members of the press.

* 9 a.m. - Doors Open
*9:30 a.m. - Event Begins
*Chairman Bob Bennett Ohio Republican Party
*State Sen. Jim Hughes
*Chairman Dale Fellows, Lake County Republican Party
*Mike DeWine, Ohio Attorney General
*Sen. Rick Santorum
The Tuesday Session Schedule at the Tampa Bay Times Forum will feature Republican governors
* 2 p.m. to 6:40 p.m. - Business Session at the Tampa Bay Times Forum
*6:40 p.m. to 7 p.m. - Recess
*7 p.m. to 11 p.m. - Convention Session at the Tampa Bay Times Forum
Ohio Key-note Session Speeches:
*Speaker John Boehner is scheduled to speak at approximately 7 p.m.
*Gov. John Kasich is scheduled to speak at approximately 8:10 p.m.
*Lisa Stickan of Ohio, chairwoman of the National Young Republicans, will speak during the business session (begins at 2 p.m.)
Afternoon Reception with Featured Speaker Sen. Rob Portman (closed press)
*4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
*Florida Aquarium - 701 Channelside Dr., Tampa

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Lake County Recorder candidate announces endorsements

Jason Wuliger, candidate for Lake County Recorder, announced the following endorsements:

U.S. Rep. Steve LaTourette, Lake County Prosecutor Charles E. Coulson, Lake County Commissioner
Raymond E. Sines, Lake County Auditor Edward H. Zupancic, Lake County Recorder Frank Suponcic, Lake County Engineer James R. Gills, Lake County Coroner Dr. Lynn A. Smith.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Banter aplenty about in-person absentee voting

There surely has been a lot of attention and partisan discussion regarding Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s recent directive to ensure in-person absentee voting is uniform for each of the state’s 88 counties.

Two Democratic Montgomery County Elections Board members were recently suspended by Husted because they failed to vote to implement his directive.

Critics say part of what Husted has done is aimed to suppress voting by making it tougher for some people to cast a ballot because there no longer will be in-person absentee voting on weekends or the Monday before the Nov. 6 election.

Some point to voting on the weekend and Monday before the election as a key in 2008 for President Barack Obama to win Ohio, and they say Husted, a Republican, wants to eliminate that.

Husted’s directive did extend weekday hours, when voters can cast a absentee ballot in-person at a county elections board.

He dismisses talk of voter suppression and says voting starts 35 days before the election and there are more than 750 hours to vote by mail and 230 hours to vote in person, plus 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

For the first time, the state of Ohio also will mail out absentee ballot applications to all registered voters for the Nov. 6 election.

That means if people are too busy working, or otherwise, or just don’t want to vote in person, then they can complete the application and mail it back or drop it off to their county election board, which will then mail back or give an absentee ballot to the voter to complete.

Once finished, the voter can then mail back or drop off a ballot to their election board prior to election day.
With all the enthusiasm in 2008 across Ohio regarding the presidential election one would think there was a large increase in voting turnout percentage compared to similar elections.

Plus, the Ohio General Assembly also approved no-fault absentee voting in 2005 across the state, which meant voters in 2008 no longer needed to provide a reason to cast an absentee ballot.

It turns out that in Ohio the voter turnout percentage for the 2008 presidential election was 2.14 percent lower than it was in 2004 before no-fault absentee voting was allowed. In 2008, the statewide percentage was 69.63, down from 71.77 percent in 2004.

The 2008 presidential election also ranked sixth in voter turnout percentage out of the eight presidential elections in Ohio since 1980.

Those elections generated turnout percentages of 63.73 percent (2000), 67.83 (1996), 77.15 (1992), 71.79 (1988), 73.65 (1984), and 73.87 (1980).

Hard numbers show in November 2008 that there were 5,773,387 out of 8,291,239 registered voters in Ohio who cast a ballot; 5,722,443 of 7,972,826 registered voters did in November 2004.

The data also shows the same pattern held true in Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties.

In 2008, the voter turnout in Lake County was 122,793, or 76.44 percent, down slightly from 122,862, or 76.69 percent, in 2004. In Geauga County, the voter turnout was 51,674, or 77.45 percent, in 2008 compared to 51,059, or 78.00 percent, in 2004.

In Cuyahoga County, voter turnout was 672,750, or 61 percent, in 2008, down from 687,260, or 68 percent, in 2004.

Do claims of potential voter suppression really have merit? I’m not sure they really do, at least in this part of the state.

Candidate forums

n The Lake County TEA Party announced it will conduct a candidates forum for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District with Republican nominee David Joyce and Democratic nominee Dale Blanchard at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at Harvey High School in Painesville.


n Fourth annual Labor Day Picnic for Wickliffe Mayor Bill Margalis, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Friday at Wickliffe Italian American Club Picnic Pavalion. See Sue Margalis.

n Fundraiser for state Rep. Casey Kozlowski, candidate for Ohio House of Representatives District 99, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at the home of Tom and Melissa Pope in Saybrook Township. See Kozlowski.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Lake County commissioner candidate announces endorsement

Lake County Commissioner Robert E. Aufuldish announced he’s received endorsement from the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Eleventh District Court of Appeals candidate announces endorsements

Eleventh District Court of Appeals Judge Mary Jane Trapp announced these endorsements:

  • Trumbull County Bar Association-”Preferred” candidate by 83 percent to challenger’s 17 percent
  • Retired Eleventh District Court of Appeals Judge Donald R. Ford. Sr.
  • Retired Federal Judge Tom Lambros
  • Mahoning/Trumbull County Democratic Women’s Caucus
  • Ashtabula, Geauga, Lake, Portage & Trumbull County Democratic Parties
  • Trumbull 4 Positive Change
  • Portage-Summit UAW CAP
  • Ohio Administrative District Council of Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers
  • Niles Men’s Democrat Club
  • Ohio Association. of Public School Employees, Local 419
  • International Union of Operating Engineers Local 66
  • Mahoning/Trumbull AFL-CIO
  • Tri-County Regional Labor Council, AFL-CIO
  • Ohio AFL-CIO
  • Columbiana, Mahoning & Trumbull U.A.W. C.A.P. Council
  • Ashtabula County AFL-CIO Central Labor Council
  • Buckeye Firearms Association
  • Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council

John Arthur Hutchison

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Candidates: Share your campaign photos

I saw plenty of candidates participating in the Lake County Fair parade last night. If you're running for office and you took photos during your march from Harvey High to the fairgrounds, we'd love to see the pictures in our campaign trail photo gallery.

To submit a photo, click the upload button below, email to with "campaign" and your caption in the subject line, or tweet @newsheraldinoh with the hashtag #campaign.

-- Cheryl Sadler | | @nhcheryl

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Blanchard's best shot yet for Congress

Who would have thought last December when U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette filed to run for re-election that he would step down as his party’s nominee?

LaTourette’s candidacy withdrawal still surprises many people, including me, as he kept his decision close to the vest until a day or so before his news conference. There wasn’t even a hint of speculation that the congressman wouldn’t seek re-election.

As of this column’s writing, who would replace LaTourette wasn’t known, as Republican leaders were scheduled to have met Friday. Names like former state Rep. Matt Dolan and Geauga County Prosecutor Dave Joyce were considered frontrunners.

But more than a few potential candidates had to be prepared for a potentially life-changing decision. Some thought long and hard about a run for Congress, but decided not to throw their hat into the ring.

Eventually around 20 people expressed an interest in the position that if selected would create a flurry of activity as the Nov. 6 election is only 84 days away.

Running for Congress isn’t like running for a county, municipal or township position. There are seven counties in the 14th Congressional District and with so little time, it makes it tougher for candidates to get their message out to voters.

This race, however, should now attract previously unexpected media coverage of the online, print and broadcast variety so that will help the candidates.

The Republican Party’s nominee likely will be considered the favorite in November, but it’s not necessarily a slam-dunk.

Solon Democrat Dale Virgil Blanchard was unopposed as his party’s nominee and has run for this seat every two years since 2000. He won the party’s nomination in 2000, 2002, and 2012.

During those campaigns, Blanchard has never raised or spent much, if any, money. Yet, he always attended candidate events, filled out questionnaires and did whatever he could to be a responsible candidate. Because of this and other previous appearances on the ballot, some voters might remember his name this November.

When I saw Blanchard in July he said he continued to run for Congress each time because he wanted to give voters a choice especially if there was a scenario when LaTourette wasn’t on the ballot.

Now Blanchard has his best opportunity so far and he’s energized and ready to make a run. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has tried to talk Blanchard into stepping down, but as of this writing he hadn’t.

I don’t blame him.

Why should he?

Does he really owe it to the Democratic Party, which after 12 years provided little or no financial support? I’ll be curious to see if this time he raises and spends money on this campaign.

Blanchard won’t have an easy time winning against the Republican Party’s candidate, but this might be his best shot yet. Could he win or make it close?

Deadlines and blessings

The weekly deadline for people who wish to submit information to appear in this column is each Wednesday at 5 p.m. Email, fax or mail is preferred.

Candidates who would like to submit written lists of endorsements for the Nov. 6 election may do so and they will be published online only until Nov. 5 at Please note, these are not endorsements by The News-Herald.


n Summer Cookout Fundraiser for Ann Radcliffe, candidate for Lake County Recorder, 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 21 at Deekers Sidetracks in Mentor. See Terri Conley.

n Seventh annual steak roast for Lorraine Fende, candidate for Lake County Treasurer, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 28 at Wickliffe Italian American Club. See Diane Fox or Nick Cindric.

n Fourth annual Labor Day Picnic for Wickliffe Mayor Bill Margalis, 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Aug. 31 at Wickliffe Italian American Club Picnic Pavalion. See Sue Margalis.

n Fundraiser for state Rep. Casey Kozlowski, candidate for Ohio House of Representatives District 99, 4 to 7 p.m. Sept. 8 at the home of Tom and Melissa Pope in Saybrook Township. See Kozlowski.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Rep. Steve LaTourette officially withdraws as a candidate (with document)

U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette made his withdrawal to seek re-election official by submitting the proper paperwork to the Lake County Elections Board.

The seven GOP county chairmen and county central committee secretaries in the district will select the new candidate at a 2 p.m. meeting Friday at the Willoughby Hills Community Center.

Ohio’s 14th Congressional District consists of Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula and parts of Cuyahoga, Portage, Summit and Trumbull counties.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

Read LaTourette’s statement of withdrawal letter below.
Steve LaTourette Resignation Letter

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Meeting time changed for GOP to replace LaTourette

Lake County GOP Chairman Dale Fellows said the time of the meeting to select new nominee to replace Rep. Steve LaTourette has been changed to 2 p.m. Friday.

The meeting will be held at Willoughby Hills Community Center and will involve the seven GOP county chairman and county central committee secretaries within the 14th Congressional District.

Ohio’s 14th Congressional District consists of Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula counties, plus parts of Cuyahoga, Summit, Portage and Trumbull counties.

Whoever is nominated will face Solon Democrat Dale Virgil Blanchard; Elaine R. Mastromatteo, a Green Party candidate; and David Macko, a Libertarian candidate.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Ohio House of Representatives District 60 candidate announces endorsements

Lori DiNallo, candidate for Ohio House District 60, announced these endorsements:

Designation as the “2012 Friend of Agriculture,” as well as endorsements from the NFIB, National Federation of Independent Business/Ohio Safe Trust, and Buckeye Firearms Association.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Obama campaign opens local office in Geauga County

The campaign for President Barack Obama opened an office Monday at 5192 Chillicothe Road, in South Russell.

Geauga County Democratic Party Chairwoman Janet Carson spoke to a crowd of local Obama supporters.

Carson thanked volunteers for their dedication to re-elect Obama and to discuss the choice between Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s different visions of how to grow the economy, create middle-class jobs and pay down the debt.

People interested in volunteering for the campaign or more information can or

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

LaTourette decision may cause ripple effect

U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette’s announcement to not seek re-election sent shockwaves around political circles in Northeast Ohio.

With LaTourette saying he will formally submit his decision Wednesday, it is up to seven county party chairmen and central committee secretaries within the 14th Congressional District to nominate another Republican to run Nov. 6.

The quick race behind the scenes to gain party favor for that nomination is in full force.

Depending on who is named, it could create a domino effect.

Sources say 15 to 20 already have expressed interest. Among the early names are Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge Tim Grendell and his wife, 11th District Appeals Court Judge Diane Grendell; Lake County Common Pleas Court Judges Vincent A. Culotta and Eugene A. Lucci; Geauga County Prosecutor Dave Joyce; former state Rep. Matt Dolan; state Rep. Ron Young; and LaTourette’s chief of staff, Dino DiSanto.

Willoughby-Eastlake School Board Member Paul Brickner and Cuyahoga County District Councilman Jack H. Schron, both Republicans, each have publicly expressed an interest.

Getting early buzz is Dolan, who also ran unsuccessfully for Cuyahoga County executive.

Now living in Chagrin Falls, Dolan would have the means to be able to spend his own money to run a campaign with so little time left in the election cycle.

Joyce’s name continues to float around, as do the Grendells. What if it was Tim Grendell, who was just appointed as the Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court judge? No secret he’s always wanted to run for Congress, but never against LaTourette. Well, that stumbling block is removed. Despite angering some people prior to his bench appointment by staying in the Ohio Senate rather than move over to the Ohio House of Representatives after he won election to that seat, he would be tough to beat.

At least 15 people expressed an interest to sit on the bench before Grendell was appointed and maybe they still would be interested if he left.

Among those names were Chardon Mayor Phil King; Geauga County Public Defender R. Robert UmholtzDaniel Bond; county GOP Party Chairman Ed Ryder; South Russell Village Councilman Jim Flaiz, Pearce Leary of Chagrin Falls; former state Rep. Mary Brigid (Bridey) Matheney of Bainbridge Township; Robert E. Zulandt; Benjamin Calkins of Newbury Township; James G. Dickinson of Russell Township; Patricia Schraff of Chester Township; David Ondrey of Chardon; Brad Somogyi; and Dan Bagley.

Young also has gained some buzz to seek the congressional nomination. He’s running for re-election as a state representative, but would have time to drop out of that race.

Perhaps former state Rep. Jamie Callender or Concord Township Trustee Christopher Galloway would have an interest to Young’s seat if he left? Both had previous interest in an appointment to the Ohio Senate before state Sen. John Eklund got the nod.

Lorraine Fende, Lake County Treasurer candidate, and Susan McGuinness, Ohio House of Representatives District 61 candidate, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Madison Township Park.
n Reception for Geauga County Recorder Sharon C. Gingerich, 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Chagrin Valley Athletic Club, with U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette. See Gingerich.

n David Fiebig, candidate for Lake County commissioner, backyard barbecue, 4 to 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at home of David and Pauli Bokor in Concord Township. See Joyce Hribar Fiebig or John Plecnik.

n Judy Moran, candidate for Lake County commissioner, fundraiser hosted by Dan Mcurdy with special guest U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, 5 to 7:30 p.m. at Mentor Beach Park. See Kathy Russo or Robert Leach.

n Fundraiser for Emilee Teresczuk, candidate for Lake County Clerk of Courts, 6 to 8 p.m. Aug. 13 at Harry Buffalo in Painesville Township. See Emilee orMatthew Teresczuk.

n Fundraiser for McGuinness, candidate for Ohio House of Representatives District 61, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 14 at home of Joyce Fitzpatrick. SeeLindsay Baruffa or Carol Roe.

John Arthur Hutchison 
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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