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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.

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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