State issues certificate for Cantalamessa

The office of Ohio’s top elections official Wednesday issued a certificate to Trumbull County commissioner appointee, Mauro Cantalamessa, that entitles the Warren businessman to hold office.

”I’ve been waiting as patiently as possible, but I’m eager to get to work,” Cantalamessa said.

Secretary of State Jon Husted’s role in issuing what’s called a governor’s commission was administrative, and essentially lets Cantalamessa be sworn into the office.

Cantalamessa was picked by Trumbull County Democratic Party central committee members Saturday to succeed the late Commissioner Paul Heltzel in the interim and appear on the Nov. 4 ballot to try to win the remainder of Heltzel’s term, which expires Jan. 2, 2017.

Heltzel died June 30.

Central committee members needed two secret paper ballot votes to arrive at Cantalamessa, who they then publicly confirmed.

The process has led to a struggle between local party Chairman Dan Polivka and chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, Chris Redfern, who disagree on how the vote should have done and, so far, has resulted in Redfern taking away the county Democrats franking privilege and access to an electronic voter database.

Redfern has argued the local party broke ODP and Democratic National Committee constitutions by voting in secret. Polivka argues the way the vote went down, including publicly affirming Cantalamessa by voice vote, satisfied his own party’s bylaws and the constitutions of the ODP and DNC.

”Initially, because of the process and it has played out, it has been overwhelming in that sense, but the desire to get to work is there,” Cantalamessa said. ”All that other stuff aside, I try not to pay attention to it. I try to focus on the steps ahead and getting to work with the other commissioners.”

A swearing-in ceremony is being planned.

The Trumbull County Board of Elections will meet Aug. 15 to certify Cantalamessa and the apparent Republican candidate, J.D. Williams of Liberty, to the fall ballot.