Transparency a must in new Trumbull choice

The Trumbull County Democratic Party should use a thorough, transparent vetting process in selecting a replacement for the late Paul Heltzel, since whomever they choose will have a distinct possibility of holding the seat for a long time.

The vacancy was created when the 69-year-old Heltzel died early this month.

The Trumbull County Democratic party must make an appointment between five and 45 days after Heltzel’s passing, and then the appointment must be certified to the Trumbull County Board of Elections.

Since the vacancy occurred more than 40 days before the next general election, and the term doesn’t expire with a year, an election must be held in November, giving voters an opportunity to choose who completes Heltzel’s term, which expires Jan. 2, 2017.

There might be a tendency for some in the party to not take the appointment seriously since voters will be deciding on a permanent replacement in November anyway.

But an election in November doesn’t give candidates a lot of time to prepare.

That means the candidate the party selects to fill the vacancy will have a distinct advantage in the election.

That’s why the party should use a very transparent, thorough vetting process.