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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 7, 2014

Sarah LaTourette's decision shaped races

The filing deadline on Wednesday saw a flurry of activity as candidates jockeyed to see who would run for different offices in Lake and Geauga counties.

Eyes focused on Sarah LaTourette to see if she would file to run for Ohio House of Representatives District 76.

The Bainbridge Township Republican, who is the daughter of former U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette, filed with the Geauga County Elections Board in Chardon less than two hours before the 4 p.m. deadline. It prompted a small chain reaction. Apparently, no Republicans wanted to challenge her.

With about 20 minutes to go before the deadline, state Rep. Matt Lynch, also a Bainbridge Township Republican, filed with the Lake County Elections Board in Painesville to run for Congress rather than run for re-election and trigger a primary against Sarah LaTourette.

Lynch’s decision then forced a Republican primary against incumbent U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-Russell Township.

Rumors were that Walter “Skip” Claypool was going to run for the state representative seat if Sarah LaTourette didn’t run.

After she filed, Claypool filed to run for the Geauga County commissioner Jan. 1 term to trigger a GOP primary against incumbent Commissioner Mary Samide.

You’ll remember back in 2012 when Geauga County Commissioner Bill Young retired and the county GOP appointed Claypool as commissioner until the November election.

At that same time, the party appointed Samide, rather than Claypool, to be the party’s nominee for that election to fill the unexpired term, which she won.

It didn’t take long for the Joyce vs. Lynch Republican congressional primary race to get started as verbal fireworks quickly emerged.

Joyce’s campaign manager Kevin Benacci issued a statement Wednesday after the filing deadline bringing up Lynch’s late property tax payment in 2012 and attacked him for voting against the state budget last year.

Lynch posted a press release on his website Thursday calling Joyce a “liberal Republican” and “selling out conservatives more than any other Republican congressman in Ohio.”

Probably the person most pleased by this development would be Moreland Hills Democrat Michael Wager, who is unopposed in a Democratic primary for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District.

Perhaps with a GOP primary, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee takes a greater interest in the November race?

Sad note

I was heartbroken to learn that Deborah Setliff died this week after a long illness.

Setliff was the press secretary to former congressman LaTourette and previously worked stints as a reporter and columnist for the Cleveland Plain Dealer and as a reporter for The News-Herald.

I didn’t work with her during her newspaper career, but I spent a lot of time talking with her on my beat when she worked for the congressman.

Setliff had a quick wit about her and sometimes her comments would just make me laugh out loud, but she was serious about work.

If ever there was a mistake, you could be assured that she would be on the phone that morning to let you know.

I’m not alone when I say she definitely will be missed.

Arrangements are being handled by the Stroud-Lawrence Funeral Home, and her obituary can be found here:


Geauga County Democratic Party hosts Spaghetti Dinner Served with Hot Top doors open at 5:30 Feb. 20 at party headquarters in Newbury Township. Chardon Municipal Court Judge Terri Stupica will discuss the Geauga County Opiate Task Force and what families need to know about the influx of heroin and opiates.


  • Fundraiser for Wager hosted by former Gov. Ted Strickland, 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at Fire Food and Drink in Shaker Heights. See Ashton Narzisi.
  • Dick Shreve, candidate for Lake County commissioner, hosts a fundraiser 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at the Willoughby Brewing Company. See Shreve.
  • Lisa Klammer, candidate for Lake County Probate Court judge, hosts a fundraiser, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at LaMalfa Party Center in Mentor. See Randy Klammer.
  • Lake County Commissioner Daniel P. Troy hosts Mardi Gras Party on Fat Tuesday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. March 4 at LaMalfa Party Center. See Kip Molenaar.

John Arthur Hutchison
Twitter: @newsheraldjah

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