The races for probate court judge in Trumbull County and for the 64th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives are beginning to take shape.
In the race for judge, two candidates have come forward so far to replace Judge Thomas Swift, who is prohibited from seeking another term because of age limits. In Ohio, a person cannot be elected or appointed judge if he / she is 70 or older at the start of the term.
In that probate court race, attorney James Fredericka and attorney Patricia Leopardi Knepp have filed with the Trumbull County Board of Elections a designation of treasurer, which allows them to spend money. The money they are spending now, however, is their own because judicial rules in Ohio prohibit a judicial candidate's committee from receiving campaign contributions 120 days or more before the election.
Candidates can, though, spend their own money on the race 90 days before the start of the 120-day period and to do so, they need to file a designation of treasurer, which is why Fredericka filed his Oct. 21 and Knepp on Oct. 29.
Also, Fredericka and Knepp have completed a mandatory training course on campaign finance, ethics and practices, which judicial rules also require of judicial candidates.
In the 64th District, weak interest in the seat has swollen now to several people wanting to replace Democratic state Rep. Tom Letson, who cannot run again because of term limits.
Democrats Sheila Calko, the GROW program manager for Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership; Eugene Mach II, the Upward Bound coordinator at Youngstown State University; Ken MacPherson, a technical leader at SpontaneousOrganization.com; and former Warren Mayor Michael J. O'Brien are running.
MacPherson and Mach have filed a designation of treasurer with the Ohio Secretary of State's office. Calko can use the account she opened when she ran for the same seat in 2010. O'Brien must transition funds he has remaining from previous elections but has not yet.
Also filing a designation of treasurer with the secretary of state was Bristol woman Elaine Mastromatteo, a member of the Green Party, who has run for the 14th U.S. Congressional District seat.
On the GOP side, former state Rep. Randy Law says he has not made a decision on entering the race. Bloomfield trustee Roger Peterson Jr., who ran in 2010, says he definitely is interested in running but will not if Law is in the race.
The filing deadline for the May 6 primary election is Feb. 5.
A beer in the hand. . .
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown won a six-pack of Great Lakes Christmas Ale from U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, a Democrat from Michigan, over the Ohio State University and Michigan rivalry game. Confident the Buckeyes would win the Big 10 Championship over Michigan State University, Brown doubled down for a 12-pack.
He should have quit while he was ahead.
Ohio State's loss to the Spartans resulted in Brown owing Peters a 12-pack of a selection from Michigan-brewed Detroit Beer Company.