Former state Rep. Sandra Stabile Harwood, a Democrat, made the correct choice when she decided to run for the county Family Court judge term beginning Jan. 1, 2013.
It's the same term that Republican incumbent Judge Richard James will be seeking in November.
By selecting that seat, not the one beginning a day later that's being sought by fellow Democrat incumbent Judge Pamela A. Rintala, Harwood gives Democrats a chance to snag another county-level elected seat (nearly all of the others are held by Democrats already).
Her decision also avoids a potentially messy March primary election with Rintala that would have forced Democrats to choose among one of their own. Instead, she puts herself in position for a head-to-head contest with James in the fall, assuming no non-party candidates file.
Plus, she'll benefit from having support from the Trumbull County Democratic Party when members of its central committee endorse for the primary in January.
She admits taking petitions out for both seats on the Family Court bench, saying polling showed she would do fine in either race. The four-term state lawmaker - she was termed limited in 2010 - said one of the tipping factors was that James was administrative judge.
She says she also had been approached concerning runs at other judicial seats, but Family Court suits her best given her background.
''I have spent many years advocating on behalf of families and children,'' she said. ''I feel like I could use my experience and background to serve the public better in that court.''
Harwood's decision also triggers another search for a Democrat to sit on the Trumbull County Board of Elections.
She found herself in the same position as the person she replaced, Niles Mayor Ralph Infante. Because Infante was running in an election, he could not sit on the board, the same for Harwood.
She resigned Thursday. That gives the Democratic Party's executive committee up to 60 days to recommend a replacement to Ohio's top elections official, Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Husted can appoint or reject the party's nomination. If a recommendation is not made, Husted can make the appointment himself.
The executive committee is meeting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the party headquarters to pick the recommendation and, so far, only Infante has expressed an interest.
This marks the third time this year Husted has been asked to make an appointment to the board. First, it was Harwood, who Husted picked in March after rejecting party chairman Dan Polivka's attempt to fill what was left of Infante's term.
Then in October, Husted named Mark Alberini of Howland to fill the remainder of the term held by former Democratic Party chairman Christ Michelakis, who died in September.
Harwood was just named chair of the four-person, bi-partisan board earlier this month. An elections board member is paid $14,316 a year.