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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.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Statewide candidate decisions near

Now that former Gov. Ted Strickland has made a decision that he will not run for governor in 2014, expect to see decisions fairly soon from other Democrats.

Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, has not officially announced that he would seek re-election next year, but all signs point to him running.

Kasich will present a formidable challenge for any Democratic opponent after seemingly rebounding after essentially coming up on the losing end of statewide referendum in November 2011 to repeal Senate Bill 5, which aimed to limit collective bargaining rights for public employees.

Expect Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald to make a decision on whether he will run for governor fairly soon. FitzGerald also would be up for re-election in 2014, so he may need to make a choice.
FitzGerald appears to be acting like a candidate as he spoke of his interest to a crowd at the Ohio Democratic County Chairs Association on Wednesday night in Columbus. Reports indicate he fell short of making an official announcement or decision.

Others mentioned as possible candidates are U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, D-Copley. Former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray also has been mentioned, but he is not permitted to discuss politics because he is chief of the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
State Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, appears to have a solid interest in running for Ohio Secretary of State in 2014.

Turner represents Ohio Senate District 25, which now includes Ohio House District 60, which contains  Eastlake, Fairport Harbor, Grand River, Lakeline, Mentor Ward 4, Mentor-on-the-Lake, Painesville, parts of Painesville Township, Timberlake, Wickliffe, Willoughby and Willowick in Lake County, plus Euclid, Richmond Heights and other eastern Cuyahoga County communities.

If Turner decides to run for statewide office, and a decision will likely happen soon, she would leave an opening for her state Senate seat that will be on the ballot in 2014.

Would someone locally have an interest, such as Eastlake Mayor Ted Andrzejewski, who ran in a Democratic primary for county commissioner last year, or Willowick Democrat James Helmink, who ran in a primary for Ohio House District 60 last year?

How about former state Rep. Kenny Yuko, D-Richmond Heights? Remember, Yuko was termed out in the Ohio House last year.

Absentee, provisional wrap-up

During the Nov. 6 election, more than 1.86 million voters in Ohio cast absentee ballots.

That includes more than 1.26 million by mail and more than 600,000 cast in person, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said.

That’s up from 2008, when the total number of absentee ballots cast, both by mail and in person, was roughly 1.74 million.

Husted attributed the increase two key policy changes implemented for the first time — all registered voters received an absentee ballot application in the mail and uniform days and hours statewide that included an increase in the number of voting hours available.

Husted did not mention in his news release that a court ruled that Ohio should have in-person voting hours on the final weekend before the election.

Husted’s office also issued a report on provisional ballots that stated of the 208,087 provisional ballots cast, 173,765 (83.5 percent) were counted, up from 166,870 (80 percent) in 2008.

Of the 34,322 provisional ballots rejected this year, 20,119 (58.6 percent) were not eligible to be counted because the person was not registered to vote in Ohio.

Nearly 40,000 provisional ballots were rejected in 2008.

Picked up petitions

People who have officially signed out petitions from the Lake County Elections Board to run for office Nov. 5 are: Ray Kirchner, Janet Dowling and Scott Marn, each for Mentor Council at large; Chris Galloway and Paul Malchesky for Concord Township trustee; Bill Brotzman for Madison Township trustee; Phillip S. Haskell for Perry Township trustee; Amy Cossick for Painesville Township trustee; John G. McCallister for Mentor Council at large and Mentor School Board; Troy D. Elam and David R. Eva for Mentor-on-the-Lake mayor.

Candidates for nonpartisan races for the General Election have until Aug. 7 to file their petitions.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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